(Rapaport…June 14, 2002) Partnership Canada published a report on June 14 that links conflicts in African nations such as The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Angola to the illicit trade of conflict diamonds. The report, “Hard Currency: The Criminalized Diamond Economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its Neighbors,” describes some of the unstable economic and political conditions in these and other Central African nations, which has made them breeding grounds for corrupt leaders and armed rebel movements to systematically exploit civilians for financial gain through the trade and mining of conflict diamonds.
The report concludes with support for the minimum standards proposed by the Kimberley Process and a call for an effective monitoring system that accompanies those standards.
“If a country cannot manage its diamond resources and industry, it must be ostracized from the legitimate diamond trade,” the report reads. “If a company cannot demonstrate that the diamonds it buys and sells are clean, it too must be ostracized.”
The report goes on to say that sanctions imposed because of violations of Kimberley Process guidelines should be extended beyond African countries and diamond producers and also include countries with polishing, trading and cutting centers, such as Belgium and India.
“None of this can be done with any level of assurance or credibility unless there is an international inspection system as part of the overall scheme,” the report reads.
The report is a result of 18 months of research and was released by Partnership Canada in conjunction with the Belgian International Peace Information Service. The full report is available at http://action.web.ca/home/pac/attach/hc_report_e.pdf.