RAPAPORT… The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) is taking Amnesty International to task for allegations it has made in a new report on the trade of diamonds originating in the Central African Republic.
The NGO said some of the CAR’s largest market players have not been adequately checking whether transactions have been financing continued conflict in the state, according to a report published September 30.
The research by the organization also makes claims of “human rights abuses, smuggling and tax dodging throughout the diamond supply chain” from CAR to Belgium and the UAE. Checks and audits in Antwerp and Dubai “could be open to abuse because of the sheer number of diamonds and traders involved as well as a lack of effective oversight,” Amnesty wrote.
AWDC said in a statement that the Amnesty report contained “factual errors” in its coverage of rough import controls in the city,
“The report ignores the fact the Antwerp Diamond Office implements a 100 percent strict control mechanism for each import or export of diamonds, which led to the interception and seizure of two shipments, containing rough diamonds potentially originating from CAR,” the AWDC statement said.
Among its allegations is that “the use of spot-checks raises concerns about the robustness of the system and the likelihood of uncovering any wrongdoing… It appears to be possible, in theory at least, to smuggle diamonds into Antwerp and Dubai and then export them under the Kimberley Process by ‘exchanging’ them for diamonds imported into those centers under the Kimberley Process.”
The Antwerp body also claimed that “the Diamond Office performs a 100% check of all shipments, instead of spot-checks as the report states.”