What is a Conflict Diamond?

Now onto the proposed expanded definition of a conflict diamond. A conflict diamond is now one that is sold and the profit is used to finance wars. The proposed addition to this definition includes the words “diamond related violence in rough diamond producing and trading areas.” This added statement covers not only diamonds used to finance wars but also loosely covers human rights violations. The expanded definition was proposed by the new Kimberley Process Chair. The World Diamond Council has expressed support for discussing this suggestion. Now, should we expect quick progress from this discussion? Hardly, it sounds so good and yet the new clause is fraught with difficulties that will probably be debated for the next ten years.

The Kimberley Process still works on the principal that change is reliant on 100% consensus. Already several countries have objected. So let’s not get carried away! This new clause is simply up for discussion and already pundits are saying that this change is too subjective to have any chance of being accepted or enforced. The endorsement from the World Diamond Council is nice but only member counties vote and the World Diamond Council has no voting status.  I have been involved on committees with much less contentious issues to deal with and seen the process get jammed up for years. So again, this is a nice suggestion but don’t expect the NGOs’ to be impressed with words and no action and don’t expect countries to move quickly to implement a clause filled with serious ambiguities; such as, should China be called out for human rights abuse or even Israel. Where do human rights issues begin and where do you draw the line as pertains to diamond related issues? India, Russia and China have already expressed their opposition. And so we watch with very little expectation, given past experience!

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