Global Witness; Certification or Confrontation

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The following is the full text of a Global Witness Report on Conflict Diamonds:


14th July 2000

Stung by international criticism the diamond industry are finally ceding to the inevitable need for wide ranging and meaningful reform. At the 29th meeting of the World Diamond Congress in Antwerp from the 16th to the 19th of July the diamond industry will be bringing a series of structural reforms intended to safeguard the reputation of the industry and their product. However there are worrying signs that the trade are deliberately trying to limit the extent of these reforms by hiding behind new government regulations rather than accept as an industry their own responsibility to their consumers to provide a verifiable way of guaranteeing conflict free diamonds. In Antwerp the eyes of the world will be on the diamond trade to see whether they are serious about reform or are just paying lip-service to NGO’s, governments and consumers at a time when the integrity of the industry is at stake. Failure to commit to these reforms will leave human rights organizations with little choice but to increase the level of public awareness regarding the diamond trade’s failure to provide meaningful guarantees that diamonds are free from funding conflict in Africa.

In order for the Diamond Congress to be viewed with any form of success

Global Witness are demanding that the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) and the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) commit their members to the following meaningful and permanent controls, as previously detailed in Global Witness’ June 2000 report, ‘Conflict Diamonds: The possibilities for the identification, certification and control of diamonds.’

– Commit to the establishment of a chain of warranties ‘from

mine to finger’;

– Ensure that all sectors of the diamond pipeline commit to

the independent verification of such warranties to ensure confidence that they are not dealing in conflict diamonds;

– All diamond centers to only allow the import, export and

re-export of rough diamonds where the country of extraction is known and which has a verifiable product audit trail;

– Agree to the establishment of an International Diamond

Committee, consisting of representatives from the diamond industry, governments and NGO’s to monitor such verification and to carry out other necessary reforms;

– Commit to the implementation of a international

certification system based in national legislation;

– Establish a system of penalties for companies, countries and

individuals that are found guilty of dealing in conflict diamonds;

– The creation of a permanent industry working group;

– Set a realistic timeframe to implement these reforms.

Nearly a full 20 months after the publication by Global Witness of the

report ‘A Rough Trade’, which brought to international attention the role that diamonds play in funding several conflicts in Africa the diamond industry is set for substantial reform. The governments of diamond producing and importing countries are committed to legislative reform and have been detailing to the industry the urgent need for reform from within the trade. It is imperative that the diamond trade work constructively with all those concerned with the long-term protection of the diamond industry.

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