Conflict Free Diamonds
A conflict diamond (also called a blood diamond) is a diamond mined in a war zone and sold to finance a civil war or other insurgency, invading army's war efforts, or a warlord's activity. These terms are particularly used in the context of diamond trading to indicate the negative effects of their sale. These diamonds are mined particularly in Africa[ where around two-thirds of the world's diamonds are mined.
On July 19, 2000, the World Diamond Congress adopted at Antwerp a resolution to strengthen the diamond industry's ability to block sales of conflict diamonds. The resolution called for an international certification system on the export and import of diamonds, legislation in all countries to accept only officially sealed packages of diamonds, for countries to impose criminal charges on anyone trafficking in conflict diamonds, and instituted a ban on any individual found trading in conflict diamonds from the diamond bourses of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses. The Kimberley Process was led by the diamond-producing African countries themselves. Also in tourist countries like Dubai,The United Kingdom, before gemstone could be allowed through their airport to other countries, the Kimberley Certification must be presented by the gem's owner or obtained from a renowned attorney.
On January 17–18 of 2001, diamond industry figures convened and formed the new organization, the World Diamond Council. This new body set out to draft a new process, whereby all diamond rough could be certified as coming from a non-conflict source.
The KPCS was given approval by the UN on March 13, 2002, and in November, after two years of negotiation between governments, diamond producers, and Non-Government organizations, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS.) was created.
The Kimberley Process attempted to curtail the flow of conflict diamonds, help stabilize fragile countries and support their development. As the Kimberley Process has made life harder for criminals, it has brought large volumes of diamonds onto the legal market that would not otherwise have made it there. This has increased the revenues of poor governments, and helped them to address their countries’ development challenges. For instance, some $125 million worth of diamonds were legally exported from Sierra Leone in 2006, compared to almost none at the end of the 1990s.
The Kimberley Process has ultimately failed to stem the flow of blood diamonds, leading key proponents such as Global Witness to abandon the scheme.
In addition to The Kimberley Process failing to curtail the flow of conflict diamonds throughout the world, there is no guarantee that diamonds with a Kimberley Process Certification are in fact conflict free. This is due to the nature of the corrupt government officials in the leading diamond producing countries. It is common for these officials to be bribed with $50 to $100 a day in exchange for paperwork declaring that blood diamonds are Kimberley Process Certified.
The Kimberley system attempted to increase governments' transparency by forcing them to keep records of the diamonds they are exporting and importing and how much they are worth. In theory, this would show governments their finances so that they can be held accountable for how much they are spending for the benefit of the country's population. However non-compliance by countries such as Venezuela has led to the failure of accountability.