The Kimberley Process (KP) regulations governing the world diamond industry only ban “conflict diamonds”, which are narrowly defined as:
“rough diamonds used by rebel groups or their allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments.”
Other blood diamonds, such as those linked to human rights violations by government forces, are not banned – and it is these diamonds which contaminate the market by being labelled “conflict-free”.
Jewellers loudly proclaim that “conflict diamonds” account for less than 1% of the market, but they hide the fact that diamonds which fund rogue regimes account for one-fifth of the market share in value terms.
The 2017 round of Kimberley Process Certification Scheme again failed to widen the definition of “conflict diamonds”, as called for by many civil society activists and NGOs.
In December 2017, IMPACT (formerly Partnership Africa Canada) became the latest NGO to withdraw from the KP. In a statement IMPACT said:
“The KP definition of ‘conflict diamonds’ is limited to only those [diamonds] used by rebel groups to finance their activities to overthrow governments, and remains silent on abuses perpetrated by governments themselves or private security firms.”
Since the KP began in 2003, Impact, Global Witness, International Alert, Fatal Transactions and Ian Smillie, a key architect of the scheme, have all withdrawn from the KP over its refusal to amend the definition of a “conflict diamond”.