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Last Updated:[24-06-2009 08:46:28 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Namibian Meet to Check Conflict/Blood Diamond Trade

tradenews A three-day meet by the Kimberley Process member states is in progress since Tuesday to review and fix illegal trade practices involved in the diamond mining and trade globally. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) is a rough diamond certification created by more than 75 diamond producing nations to arrest and prevent the trade in conflict/blood diamonds that led to the death and displacement of millions of people across the globe notably from African countries.

The illegally mined diamonds get its name conflict/blood diamonds after the rebel or government forces employed inhuman methods by enslaving the common population to mine these precious gems. The KPCS is currently chaired by Namibia, and was established in 2003 which also serves as a deterrent to blood diamonds getting into global market.

As per KPCS norms, the rough diamonds must be sealed in tamper-resistant containers and required to have forgery-resistant, conflict-free certificates with unique serial numbers each time they cross an international border. But the Namibian Deputy Minister of Mines, Bernhard Esau during his opening speech in the meet admitted that fake Kimberley Process certificates were a growing concern and had to find ways to stop them.

Taking into account several blatant violations on human rights and illegal trade practices in countries including Zimbabwe, Lebanon, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Brazil and Venezuela despite KPCS being in effect, a coalition of civil society groups stated that KPCS was failing to achieve its primary goal. Similarly, Global Witness which exposes the corrupt exploitation of natural resources and international trade systems said “The clock is running out on Kimberley Process credibility”.

In October last year, Zimbabwe government forcefully took charge of the Marange fields, the high diamond yielding region on the pretext of widespread illegal mining. As a result, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses in April banned the sale of diamonds from the Marange fields. Yet illegal trade of blood diamond from Zimbabwe is still rampant.

On the other hand, Venezuela despite agreeing in 2008 that it would suspend its diamond trade until new control systems could be established, a civil society investigative visit to Venezuela in May this year found that diamonds are still being mined and smuggled into the global legitimate market with complete impunity. With such glaring examples at hand, KPCS had to put in place some tough measures to curb blood/conflict diamonds being traded in any market.

By Jose Roy

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