“Five years after its creation, the Kimberley Process, the international diamond certification scheme, is still having difficulty stopping conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate trade,” claim the two NGOs involved in creating the scheme, Global Witness and Partnership Africa Canada.
The two say that diamonds continue to fuel conflict in eastern DRC and are playing a role in the conflict in Cote d’Ivoire, two countries participating in the Kimberley Process. And while official exports from Cote d’Ivoire were halted in 2003, the NGOs say they fear that other countries in West Africa, which are members of the Process, may be exporting diamonds originating from Cote d’Ivoire.
“There are significant problems in the collection and analysis of diamond production and trade statistics,” they say in a release, “which are essential to the detection of conflict diamonds. Some countries are failing to submit required statistics on time, while other countries submit poor quality data, or figures that cannot be compared with other countries’ data.”
“Currently, Bulgaria, Central African Republic, China, Guinea, Ghana, Guyana, Laos, Lesotho, Malaysia and Venezuela have outstanding, incomplete or non-compliant data. Tanzania has submitted no statistical data. The United States does not submit data that can be compared with other countries’ statistics, a serious problem because it is the largest diamond jewelry market.”
This, they conclude, threatens to undermine the entire scheme, calling for technical and financial assistance for member countries that are not complying due to limited capacity and resources.
Ian Smillie from Partnership Africa Canada is also calling for some sanctions against non-compliant countries. “There should be a standard procedure for removing a country from the Kimberley Process if they have failed to submit data after a 60-day period, and have been notified of this,” he said.
Since its launch, Global Witness and Partnership Africa Canada said monitoring is one of the Scheme’s weakest points, and they want to see all countries’ diamond control systems thoroughly reviewed and any weaknesses tackled.
“Countries that have received review visits should report back to the Kimberley Process giving information about how recommendations are being taken up and implemented,” said Corinna Gilfillan, lead campaigner at Global Witness. “Review visit reports should be made public to ensure transparency and credibility of the process.”
They also want to see the three-year review, scheduled for next year, carried out by a team of independent evaluators to assess how the process is working.
“It is important for Kimberley Process to have an objective, comprehensive external review backed by adequate resources and expertise,” Global Witness and Partnership Africa Canada say in the report.
Learn more about the Kimberley Process at http://www.diamondsourceva.com/Education/DiamondIndustry/diamonds-conflict.asp