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EOSC 118_2 - N OVEMBER 2008 global witness Loupe Holes...

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The illicit trade: Gateway for conflict diamonds The illicit trade in rough diamonds is one of the greatest threats facing the Kimberley Process (KP) certification scheme. The KP was created to halt and prevent the trade in conflict diamonds that cost so many lives during the last two decades. At the end of the scheme’s fifth year, the trafficking of conflict and illicit stones is looking more like a dangerous rule than an exception. Partnership Africa Canada and Global Witness have long argued that the Kimberley Process should be more proactive in monitoring infringements, and tougher in curtailing this illicit trade. The situation today is getting worse. In Venezuela, rampant diamond smuggling continues while the government flouts the certification scheme. Despite a UN embargo on Ivorian conflict diamonds, stones are still mined in northern Côte d’Ivoire, smuggled into international trading centres and sold on to consumers. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono recently stated that over 10,000 people were visiting the border town of Mutare every month for illegal activities involving diamonds. Gono said that over 2,000 local syndicates were smuggling diamonds out of the country. This paper reviews the issues around illicit flows of rough diamonds, particularly in countries facing serious challenges in controlling the artisanal mining sector. We present the results of a survey assessing how participant countries are enforcing KP controls and monitoring the diamond industry, and we put forward specific recommendations for changing the way the KP is managed and implemented. We hope that the procrastination and denial that have gripped the Kimberley Process on these issues in recent years can be replaced at the forthcoming Plenary Meeting in New Delhi with a proactive and dedicated response to the problems. The Kimberley Process should: Take swift action when faced with cases of non-compliance and agree an interim suspension mechanism with clear criteria; Require of its participants stronger government oversight of the diamond industry, including regular stock audits of companies; Require the cutting and polishing sector to adhere to KP minimum standards; Require participants to improve internal controls and increase collaboration and enforcement efforts to combat rough diamond smuggling; Develop a research and monitoring capacity to address illicit flows of rough diamonds. global witness Loupe Holes Illicit Diamonds in the Kimberley Process N OVEMBER 2008 A trader in Belgium uses a loupe to examine rough diamonds. Dieter Telemans / Panos Pictures
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WEST AFRICA The diamond-rich nations of West Africa – Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire – are plagued by the challenges facing most artisanal mining countries: porous borders, fragile infrastructure, lack of transparency and weak governance. The continual flow of conflict diamonds out of Côte d’Ivoire, and the potential for renewed instability in neighbouring countries, means that robust Kimberley Process controls are vital to the region.
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