What Are Conflict Diamonds

Because of the successful advertising campaigns in the United States, diamonds symbolize Eternal Love, A Diamond Is Forever, Continuing Affection, A Successful Relationship, Independence, and Wealth.  Diamonds also stand for The Africa’s Killing Fields, Bloodshed, Anarchy, and Genocide.

Diamonds known as conflict diamonds originate from the war zones of Africa.  On December 1, 2000 the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution defining the role of conflict diamonds with the intent of cutting off the sources of funding for rebel forces and to help shorten the wars and prevent their recurrence.

Conflict diamonds are diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments, or in contravention of the decisions of the Security Council.

Among the countries most affected by the terror inflicted by traders in conflict diamonds are Liberia, Sierra Leone and also Angola.  Prominent among the military groups involved in such trade are the UNITA in Angola, Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone and even the government of Liberia that funds rebel activities in Sierra Leone without paying any heed to the international condemnation such activities are eliciting.

It has been estimated that in 1990 as much as 15 percent of the total production of diamonds were conflict diamonds.  In 2004 it was reported that this percentage had fallen to approximately 1 percent.  The first step in stopping the trade in conflict diamonds was to stop purchasing raw diamonds from those countries that are involved in selling such diamonds and thus choking the funding channels for arms and ammunition. 

To get around the United Nations General Assembly resolution, these diamonds were sold through contacts in neighboring countries and after the stones are polished, ascertaining their origins becomes next to impossible.

The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).

In May of 2000, the diamond producing countries of South Africa first met in Kimberley to develop a plan that could halt the trade of conflict diamonds by establishing a way that diamond origin could be certified.  During the next several years the World Diamond Congress, World Federation of Diamond Bourses, World Diamond Council and other originations became involved with trying to halt the flow of conflict diamonds.  After 2 years of negotiation between Governments, Diamond Producers and Non-Government organizations the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was created.

The benefits to countries that put an end to trading in conflict diamonds is immense and it could mean better economic development and prosperity.  With the institution of curbs in conflict diamonds such as the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme, there has been a dramatic improvement noticeable in its trade.

Resourceful and unscrupulous groups still manage to elude the legal barriers and still find ways of infiltrating the diamond centers of the world.  It may not be feasible to stop the trading in conflict diamonds by 100 percent but with marked drop reported in 2004, there is hope for the world that the strife and genocide taking place in Africa will soon come to an end.

Please do not support the war effort.  Insist on a certification before purchasing a diamond.  It will tell you the stone’s carat weight, its color and clarity, flawsFree Reprint Articles, and its origins.

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