(Rapaport…July 12, 2004) Global Witness commended the removal Friday of the Republic of Congo (ROC) from the Kimberley Process (KP) by Tim Martin, chair of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and a Canadian. The move followed a review of the African country’s compliance with the KP in preventing conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate diamond trade.
“Removing the Republic of Congo is a major step towards ensuring that the Kimberley Process is working effectively and has teeth,” said Corinna Gilfillan, a policy analyst for Global Witness in the U.S. “This decision sets an important precedent for how to deal with countries and diamond traders that are not complying with the Kimberley Process.” Global Witness, based in London, is a nonprofit organization that focuses on natural resource exploitation and governments.
The ROC, also known as Congo Brazzaville, is a major hub for illicit diamond trading that was admitted into the Kimberley Process in 2003 because it had adopted regulations to implement the agreement’s minimum requirements. However, criteria for membership focused only on whether countries met the requirements on paper and did not assess how these regulations were implemented and enforced. Two other countries have been removed from the KP list since the certification process began in 2003. They are Lebanon, which is still off the list because it never passed the required KP legislation, and the Central African Republic, which was removed during a coup there in March 2003, but was reinstated.
The 43 nations that are KP members have promised not to trade in diamonds with a nation that is not part of the process.