WDC Issues Definition of Conflict Diamonds

140 95 Rapaport News

 The World Diamond Council (WDC) has released its proposed new
Kimberley Process (KP) definition of conflict diamonds, which addresses a
broader range of human-rights abuses.

The definition describes them as “rough diamonds used by
public security forces or private (including criminal or mercenary) armed
groups to acquire wealth through illegal control, bribery, taxation, extortion
or dispossession of people,” the WDC said Tuesday. It would also include stones
“acquired through systemic and widespread violence, forced labor, the worst
forms of child labor, or through violations of international humanitarian law.”

The previous language only referred to diamonds used by
rebel movements to finance conflict. As a result, the definition has been a
matter of debate for years, with critics arguing that it failed to censure
violence by governments.

Canada put the proposal forward to the KP plenary in
Brussels, Belgium, this week. All country members of the KP must unanimously
approve it for it to pass. The proposal will not be voted on in the current KP plenary, but will be tabled as a proposal to be discussed, Stephane Fischler, president of the WDC, which represents the trade at the KP told Rapaport News.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for us, through the KP
process, to make a difference in the lives of people residing in some of the
most challenged diamond-producing nations around the world,” Fischler added.

The US government also proposed a new “declaration of
principles” for responsibly sourced diamonds dealing with human rights,
community development, health and labor standards, environmental impacts, and
the battle on crime and terrorism.

The KP will probably activate any approved changes in phases
so KP participants have enough time to implement them, the WDC added.

Image: Artisanal diamond miner in Sierra Leone. (Mummane)

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