are no clean diamonds in a dirty system
|Conflict diamonds, or blood diamonds, are
rough diamonds mined in conflict zones that are used by
armed groups to finance conflict and commit grave human
Conflict diamonds have originated from Angola, Sierra
Leone, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Diamonds
have also sustained the conflict in Liberia and are a
potential revenue source for future conflicts if the trade
in rough diamonds is not effectively managed and monitored.
However all countries that trade and sell diamonds are
complicit in the misery and terror associated with conflict
diamonds, including Canada.
keeping diamonds conflict-free?
Is the Kimberley Process necessary
if the conflicts end?
What is the Canadian government
Where can I buy a conflict-free
What about Canadian diamonds?
Facts about conflict diamonds.
agreements: keeping diamonds conflict-free?
The Kimberley Process is a joint effort between the diamond
industry, governments and civil society that aims to end the
trade in conflict diamonds through an international certification
To date, over 50 diamond producing, trading and marketing
countries have joined the voluntary scheme, including Canada,
the US, the European Community and major African producing
countries. The Interlaken Declaration, adopted by members
of the Kimberley Process in November of 2002, committed member
countries to simultaneously launching the scheme at national
levels beginning January 1, 2003.
However, the Kimberley Process as it currently exists will
not keep conflict or illicit diamonds out of the trade. A
lack of regular, independent monitoring leaves huge loopholes
for conflict diamonds to continue to enter the trade. Unethical
members of the diamond industry will take advantage of these
loopholes, slipping conflict diamonds into the legitimate
trade and continuing to make huge profits trafficking in conflict
the Kimberley Process necessary if
the conflicts end?
"The sad reality is that further conflicts in Africa
or anywhere else on our troubled planet, are probably inevitable."
- Rory More-O'Farrall, De Beers Director of
Public and Corporate Affairs
The Kimberley Process is also a preventative measure. The
Process will, if effectively implemented, stop armed groups
from using diamonds as a source of funding for future wars.
is the Canadian government doing?
The Canadian government has played a leadership role in efforts
to end the trade in conflict diamonds, motivated by both humanitarian
concerns and a desire to protect the rapidly growing Canadian
In order to meet its obligations under the Kimberley Process,
the Canadian government passed Bill C-14, the Export and Import
of Rough Diamonds Act in December 2002. A Kimberley Process
office under Natural Resources Canada has been set up to issue
Kimberley Process certificates.
can I buy a conflict-free diamond?
Because of a lack of monitoring in the Kimberley
Process, conflict diamonds can continue to enter the diamond
trade. Once a diamond is polished, it is impossible to identify
its origin through scientific methods. This means that when
conflict diamonds enter the diamond trade, there is no way
of distinguishing them from legitimate diamonds.
Without regular, independent monitoring of the Kimberley
Process, any diamond may be a conflict diamond. No jewellery
retailer can guarantee that the diamonds they're selling are
about Canadian diamonds?
Canada is currently the fifth largest producer of diamonds
in the world. It is projected that Canadian diamonds will
make up as much as 15% of the diamond trade, and possibly
much more, by 2010.
Consumers are increasingly looking to the "clean"
reputation of Canadian diamonds - diamonds that are marketed
as conflict-free and produced with ethical environmental and
labour practices. The jewellery industry in Canada has produced
a Voluntary Code on Authenticating Canadian Diamonds. At present,
the code cannot guarantee that Canadian diamonds are truly
Canadian. All Canadian-mined diamonds leave Canada; some are
then re-imported for cutting and polishing in Canada. When
Canadian diamonds leave the country, conflict diamonds can
be slipped into the supply chain and passed off as Canadian.
Without regular, independent monitoring in Canada and all
other Kimberley Process member countries, there is no way
of knowing whether conflict diamonds have been kept out of
the system - and no guarantees that a diamond advertised as
Canadian is truly Canadian.
about conflict diamonds
The diamond industry estimates that conflict diamonds represent
4% of the total trade in rough diamonds. Others have estimated
that conflict diamonds could amount to as high as 15% of the
In 2001, the diamond industry produced rough diamonds with
a market value of US $7.9 billion. At the end of the diamond
chain, this was converted into jewellery worth US $54.1 billion.
Diamond production from Canadian mines will reach almost
10% of the world trade in rough diamonds by the end of 2003.
It is projected that Canadian diamonds will make up as much
as 15% of the trade, and possibly much more, by 2010.
Sierra Leone's decade-long civil war left upwards of 50 000
dead, half a million refugees, and thousands of amputees.
Sierra Leone is currently ranked last on the UN's Human Development
A UN Expert Panel report published in December 2000 estimated
that in Sierra Leone, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF)'s
diamond trade amounted to $25 million to $125 million in diamonds
per year in the late 1990s.
Angola's civil war left half a million dead and 86
000 maimed. $3.7 billion in diamonds was pocketed by UNITA,
the rebel movement in Angola, between 1992 and 1999 alone.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo's war continues today,
with rebels and armies from neighbouring countries and the
DRC committing atrocities. The on-going violence has left
2.5 million dead and millions of people displaced or refugees
to date. Hundreds of millions of dollars in diamonds are stolen
or smuggled out every year.