2The Age of Discovery

2The Age of Discovery - Diamonds are forever.but lives are...

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Diamonds are forever …..but lives are not. -Martin Chungong Ayafor, Chairman of the Sierra Leone Panel of Experts
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Introduction The issue of blood diamonds captured the world's attention in 1999 when Sierra Leone was going through an extremely horrific war. The profits from the sale of illicit rough (uncut) diamonds have been used by rebel groups to fund wars in Sierra Leone, Angola, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo Millions of innocent lives were lost, millions were injured and millions more were permanently scarred.
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Blood Diamonds What are blood diamonds? •Essentially, these are diamonds that should have been used to develop the African countries but were instead used to fuel wars and conflict. They are known as conflict diamonds or blood diamonds •The United Nations defines these conflict diamonds as “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”. To put simply… diamonds sold by rebel groups to buy arms and ammunition to carry on war.
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The Countries Involved
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Brief History •In 1866 diamonds were discovered in South Africa: beginning of the “scramble for Africa”. •By 1870 the British colonizer and businessman, Cecil Rhodes, began the quest for diamonds in Africa •Rhodes co-founded the De Beers Mining Company in 1880, a company that became and still remains to be the world’s largest diamond supplier. •The De Beers Mining Company took over control of much of Africa’s diamond mines and created a monopoly in the world’s diamond market. •The De Beers Mining Company basically started the diamond industry in Africa with the slogan “a diamond is forever” •Africans realized that huge profits could be made from trading diamonds and engaged in illicit diamond mining.
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