Time’s Up for the Blood Diamond Industry
Time for Diamond-Free Oscars.
Many of the celebrities involved in the Time’s Up action during the Golden Globes awards in Hollywood agreed to wear diamonds worth $millions on behalf of some of the world’s leading jewellery companies. In doing so they were unwittingly helping to glamorize and whitewash an industry that continues to be heavily tarnished by bloodshed and violence.
Like most people, Hollywood stars don’t realise that cut and polished diamonds which generate revenue used to fund grievous human rights violations evade the strictures of the diamond regulatory body known as the Kimberley Process (KP).
The KP only bans “conflict diamonds” – rough diamonds that fund rebel violence against legitimate governments. Other blood diamonds that fund human rights violations by rogue regimes remain fully legal and account for about 20% of the market share in value terms.
Given the constant barrage of “conflict-free” and “responsibly-sourced” disinformation emanating from the jewellery industry most people are unaware that diamond funded human rights violations continue unchecked in many countries in Africa and the Middle East.
The failure of the Kimberley Process to broaden the definition of a “conflict diamond” to include abuses by government forces has seriously undermined international efforts to end the trade in all blood diamonds and not just those that fund abuses by rebel groups.
In December, IMPACT (formerly Partnership Africa Canada) became the latest NGO to leave the KP. A spokesperson for IMPACT said the KP definition of “conflict diamonds” is limited “to only those used by rebel groups to finance their activities to overthrow governments, and remains silent on abuses perpetrated by governments themselves or private security firms.”
Global Witness, International Alert, Fatal Transactions and Ian Smillie, a key architect of the KP scheme, have also withdrawn from the KP.
In 2011, Global Witness withdrew because the KP’s “refusal to evolve and address the clear links between diamonds, violence and tyranny has rendered it increasingly outdated”.
The Civil Society Coalition in the KP pushed for the inclusion of the cutting and polishing industry in the KP stating:
“Until the cutting and polishing industry is included in KPCS oversight, the Civil Society Coalition will work to inform retailers and consumers that there can be no confidence in the KP certification system.”
An attempt to broaden the definition of a conflict diamond was scuppered by Israel which blocked the reform as it “could be disastrous…especially to Israel.”
The Kimberley Process has been exposed for allowing rogue regimes to hold the jewellery industry hostage to shield them from sanctions.
Hollywood stars should heed the call for the Oscars 2018 to be diamond-free and refuse to wear diamonds on the red carpet. By doing so they can send a powerful message to the jewellery industry and to the world that time’s up for blood diamonds.
For more information go to diamondfreeoscars.org