Kimberley Process Must Ban All Blood Diamonds
Kimberley Process Plenary Must Broaden the Definition of a “Conflict Diamond” And Ban All Blood Diamonds, Not Just Rough Diamonds That Fund Rebel Violence.
The Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA), an organisation working for a just peace in Palestine and Israel, calls on delegates to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) currently meeting in plenary in Brisbane, 9-14 December 2017, to:
1. Seal the gaping hole in the KPCS regulations which facilitates the trade in blood diamonds that fund rogue regimes guilty of grievous human rights violations.
2. Abolish the bogus System of Warranties introduced by the World Diamond Council (WDC) which purports to guarantee a diamond is conflict-free.
3. Extend the remit of the KPCS to include cut and polished diamonds and not just rough diamonds.
Despite claims from vested interests in the jewellery and diamond industries that “conflict diamonds” have been “virtually eliminated form the legitimate supply chain” other blood diamonds that fund regimes accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, the crime of apartheid and the development of unregulated nuclear weapons account for over 20 percent of the market share in value terms.
The repeated refusal of delegates to successive plenary meetings of the KPSC to broaden the definition of a “conflict diamond” means the diamond industry remains tarnished by bloodshed and violence. Rogue regimes are holding the global industry hostage in order to shield themselves from sanctions. This situation can not be allowed to continue. The KPSC must amend the voting system which gives veto power to corrupt and violent regimes that use revenue from the diamond industry to murder, maim and terrorise populations under their control.
We note with concern the call this week from the World Diamond Council (WDC) for limited reform of the KPSC which excludes extending its remit to human rights violations associated with trading centres, as was originally proposed by the WDC in 2015 but was blocked by the president of the Israeli Diamond Exchange, Schmule Schnitzer, because “it could be disastrous to trading centres, especially to Israel”.
Revenue from cut and polished diamonds is a major source of funding for the Israeli military which stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the UN Human Rights Council, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
Spokesperson for AFOPA, Dr David Faber, said:
“It is incumbent on the jewellery industry to ensure consumers are not being conned into buying blood diamonds whitewashed by a matrix of bogus warranties, certification schemes and standards which ignore the human rights violations being funded from diamond revenue generated downstream of the mining sector”.
The KPSC is completely unfit for purpose as it gives a free pass to blood diamonds that fund human rights violations by government forces. Until regulations are amended to ban all blood diamonds consumers should consider if their need for a diamond is worth all the pain and suffering which the industry inflicts on others less fortunate than themselves.
1. World Diamond Council call for reform of the KPSC, 6 Dec 2017.
2. President of Israeli Diamond Exchange blocks WDC reform widening the definition of conflict diamonds "to include countries who flout human rights laws not just in mining areas but also in diamond trading centers", 18 Oct 2015.
3. Blood Diamonds: More than One Fifth of Diamonds Sold Worldwide are Funding Bloodshed and Violence, Sean Clinton, Global Research, 9 Dec 2016.
5 . Global Witness leaves Kimberley Process, calls for diamond trade to be held accountable - "Most consumers still cannot be sure where their diamonds come from, nor whether they are financing armed violence or abusive regimes", 2 Dec 2011.
6. Israel’s military investigations into Gaza conflict violations strengthen impunity, Amnesty International, 17 Apr 2013.
7. Israel/Gaza: Unlawful Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Media, Human Rights Watch, 20 Dec 2012 – “Official statements that reflect the military having adopted an unlawful basis for attacks are evidence of war crimes because they show intent.”
9. UN Human Rights Council Report of the Fact-Finding Mission of the Gaza Conflict [pdf], UNHRC - “The Mission finds that the conduct of the Israeli armed forces constitutes grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of wilful killings and wilfully causing great suffering to protected persons and, as such, give rise to individual criminal responsibility. It also finds that the direct targeting and arbitrary killing of Palestinian civilians is a violation of the right to life.”
10. Brussels Communiqué calling of the inclusion of the cutting and polishing industry in the Kimberley Process, Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition, Dec 2011
11. Israeli political economist, Shir Hever, “Every time somebody buys a diamond that was exported from Israel some of that money ends up in the Israeli military, so the financial connection is quite clear. Overall the Israeli diamond industry contributes about $1 billion annually to the Israeli military and security industries.” - view youtube.
12. Victims of Gaza and Southern Israel conflict still await justice, Amnesty International, 27 Dec 2009 - “Israeli forces killed hundreds of unarmed Palestinian civilians and destroyed thousands of homes in Gaza in attacks which breached the laws of war, Amnesty International concluded.”