What is a blood diamond? Regrettably some diamonds come from areas where there is conflict. These diamonds are also known as conflict diamonds and originate in areas where there are forces opposed to the current government and such diamonds are used to fund and finance military action and armed rebellion.
Such diamonds are born out of misery and death and it is easy to make someone guilty for wearing a diamond that ‘might’ have come from such an area. Quite rightly the promotion and sales of such diamonds is to be deplored and the public are becoming increasingly aware of such diamonds.
In many African countries, including Angola, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) diamonds have been, and continue to be linked to terrible human rights abuses either by insurgent groups to fuel conflict and carry out atrocities against innocent civilians or by unscrupulous government who are equally brutal. Conflict Diamonds have been at the heart of some of Africa’s most protracted and bloody wars. Diamonds have fuelled conflicts in Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone, destroying nations and costing an estimated 3.7 million lives.
However not all diamonds come from such areas and in fact only a small quanitity of the overall production of diamonds comes from such areas.
So how can you tell the difference between a conflict or blood diamond from a legitimate one? A ‘Certificate of origin’ can be an effective way of ensuring that you are only buying a legitimate diamond.
In January 2003, the Kimberley Process, an international diamond certification system, was introduced to eradicate the trade in conflict diamonds. As a result of pressure from NGOs, the diamond industry and governments agreed to this scheme to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate diamond trade.
As part of the Kimberly Process the diamond industry agreed to a system of warranties requiring that those in the diamond industry buy diamonds only from companies that provide guarantees that their diamonds do not come from conflict sources. This means that as a consumer you can expect jewellers to provide you with documentary evidence to prove that any diamond you buy is guaranteed to be conflict-free.
In partnership with the Cooperative Bank, Amnesty International and ActionAid, and with your support, Global Witness intends to present your pledges to the Kimberley Process participants at their next meeting in South Africa.
It is better than knowing one is wearing blood diamonds.