NGOs: Conflict Diamonds Progress Hit By Lack of Russian Data

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(Rapaport…October 22, 2004) Progress on conflict diamonds has been compromised by a lack of statistics from Russia, Global Witness and Partnership Africa Canada said Thursday in a joint release.

Russia passed legislation to declassify diamond data months ago, but it has not been signed into law by President Vladimir Putin, the two non-governmental organizations said.

This means that Russia is in non-compliance with the Kimberley Process, the NGOs said. The Kimberley Process is an international agreement to prevent the trade of diamonds that originate in regions of conflict.

Russia, one of the world’s largest diamond producers, is due to take the chair of the Kimberley Process in January 2005.

“Russia’s non-compliance for almost two years on this key issue brings its proposed chairmanship of the Kimberley Process in 2005 into serious doubt,” said Corinna Gilfillan of Global Witness.

There are also problems with data and internal controls in some countries, the release added. A number of countries submit data with significant delays and use different methods for providing the data, which creates comparative statistical inaccuracy.

On October 27, delegates from more than 40 countries, the European Commission, the diamond industry and civil society organizations will assess the progress of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) at a plenary meeting. Canada has been chairing the Kimberley process during 2004.

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