“Blood Diamonds” or “Conflict Diamonds” are terms used to describe diamonds mined in war zones and sold to finance insurgencies or invading armies’ efforts to undermine legitimate governments. The terms highlight the negative consequences of the diamond trade in these areas, which are generally located in Africa, and include the death and injury of innocent civilians.
On December 10, 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which serves as the fundamental, constitutive document of the international community with regard to human rights. The mining and sale of blood diamonds have been deemed a breach of human rights for several reasons: First, the mining of these diamonds is done under force; men, women, and children are kidnapped and treated slaves to collect diamonds, subjected to dangerous and unhygienic working and living conditions, and often forced to use their bare hands to dig in mud along river banks instead of with tools. Many forced laborers—the majority of whom are children—are injured and die in the process. Second, the sale of blood diamonds finances the continuation of violence by rebel groups and guerilla organizations, which necessarily harms the civilian population and precludes the possibility of life with dignity and security. The abuse of human rights that results from the mining and sale of blood diamonds has occurred and continues to occur in countries such as Angola, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, and Zimbabwe.
A system of documentation for the movement of raw diamonds around the globe, called the Kimberley Process, was adopted by the U.N. between 2002-2003 in direct response to the phenomenon of blood diamonds.
The Kimberley Process (KP) is an international forum established in 2003 to set terms for the regulation of the production and trade in raw diamonds, with the goal of preventing the sale of blood diamonds. The Process, which began when Southern African diamond-producing states met in Kimberley, South Africa in May 2000, enables members who fulfill certain minimum requirements to certify shipments of rough diamonds as “conflict-free.” In December of the same year, the U.N. adopted the international certification scheme proposed by the KP that is mandatory of all member states, thereby preventing conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate trade.
In November 2000, as a result of negotiations between governments, human-rights organizations, and representatives of the international diamond industry, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was elaborated. It took effect in 2003, when member states began to implement its various rules, including: the legislation and establishment of institutions for the implementation and supervision of the KP; control of the export and import of diamonds; and demonstration of full transparency with regard to statistical data. Furthermore, participating countries may trade only with other participating countries who have met the minimum requirements.
Each diamond must be accompanied by a certificate that confirms its adherence to the provisions of the KP and its legitimate provenance, i.e., that it was not involved in the financing of conflict, in accordance with the relevant U.N. resolution. The KP enforces its laws on member countries through frequent audits and monitoring of statistical reports.
Twice a year, representatives from all member countries, human-rights organizations, and the international diamond industry convene for a planning conference, in tandem with ongoing collaboration throughout the intervening periods. The conference enables representatives to discuss and reach agreement on the future activities of the Process. In addition, different groups within the diamond industry raise and address specific problems in their fields. The total number of participants in the KP now stands at 49, representing 75 countries. KP members account for approximately 99.8% of the global production of rough diamonds.
KP members attest that within a relatively short time, the forum has effected a significant change in the world. Experts in the diamond industry argue that today, as a result of the Kimberley Process, only 1 percent of all diamonds marketed in the world are blood diamonds; in 1990, 15 percent of diamonds marketed in the global economy met the definition. Moreover, by making local diamond markets more controlled—and therefore more profitable—the Process has been credited with stabilizing weak countries’ economies and fostering their economic development.
We, as a company that believes in human rights, honor, and liberty, as well as in the value and necessity of commercial ethics, do business only with countries participating in the KP; in addition, we meet the full requirements set forth by the Process, and will continue to do so at the highest level.