NGO Warns of Kimberley Process Loopholes

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(Rapaport… April 24, 2003) Nongovernmental organization (NGO), ActionAid, has warned that the Kimberley Process scheme is not open to external scrutiny and makes no provision for independent evaluation. This “crucial gap” threatens the credibility of the scheme and “opens loopholes through which conflict diamonds can slip.”

ActionAid will lobby this warning at the upcoming Kimberly Process meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa from April 28 to 30, 2003. As part of the NGO delegation to the Kimberley Process, they are calling for every participating country to be required to report annually, to be subject to regular independent review and for a system of spot checks to be introduced.

According to ActionAid’s policy officer, Bethan Brookes: “The commitment of high street jewelers to their customers over conflict-free jewelry can only be as good as the guarantees that accompany rough diamonds and without independent checks there is a danger that any guarantees are worthless.”

“Any foot dragging by the diamond trade over monitoring will call into question the industry’s ethics and the credibility of the whole Kimberley Process. If industry representatives remain complacent, we fear that people will not only continue to die but that reconstruction and development will come to a standstill in countries that have suffered diamond-fuelled conflict,” adds ActionAid’s Sierra Leonean delegate, Kadi Jumu.

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