Kimberley Process in search of new conflict diamonds definition
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was established in 2003 to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the mainstream diamond market. Conflict diamonds, also known as blood diamonds, are diamonds mined in a war zone and sold to finance violence and armed conflict.
The Kimberley Process aims to certify that diamonds are mined and traded legally and without contributing to violence and human rights abuses. Member countries are required to implement controls and audits to ensure diamonds are from conflict-free zones before they can be imported and exported.
However, there have been issues with the Kimberley Process failing to stop conflict diamonds from slipping through the system. New definitions of conflict diamonds have been proposed to expand the Kimberley Process certification to prevent additional abusive practices.
Proposed new definitions
Some suggestions for expanding the conflict diamond definition include:
- Diamonds mined in areas controlled by non-state armed groups or militaries that commit human rights abuses.
- Diamonds that involve forced labor, including forced recruitment of children.
- Diamonds from zones with widespread corruption or lack of regulations, allowing conflict diamonds to prosper.
- Diamonds that fund violence against civilians, not just direct combat between armed groups.
Opponents argue that broader definitions could disadvantage poor artisanal miners and increase the costs and difficulty of compliance. However, supporters counter that strengthened certification is necessary to cut off financing for violent rebel groups and sanction corrupt regimes.
Challenges to implementing new definitions
There are significant challenges to implementing new and broader conflict diamond definitions within the Kimberley Process. Member countries would have to reach consensus on the details of any new definitions, and some countries may resist proposals that could impact their diamond industries.
Compliance auditing also becomes more difficult and costly with broader definitions, as more complex investigations would be required to certify diamonds as truly conflict-free. This could place a large burden on both governments and legitimate diamond miners and traders.
However, consumer demand for ethically-sourced diamonds continues to grow. Strengthening the Kimberley Process is necessary to meet these demands and ensure conflict diamonds can no longer tarnish the diamond market. With cooperation, the Kimberley Process can expand its definitions and better fulfill its mission.