Global Witness’ pull out of “blood diamonds” scheme raises questions
This week’s decision by the campaign group, Global Witness to pull out of the Kimberley international diamonds certification process, accusing governments around the world of lacking the political will to address the clear links between diamonds, violence and tyranny, has raised eyebrows.
“We don’t want to be a part of it, because we don’t want think it’s working to lend our credibility to something which is actually a bit of a lie,” says Annie Dunnebacke, Senior Campaigner of the London based NGO.
As WADR's Frank Sainworla reports, it was during diamond rich Sierra Leone’s now ended civil war that the profile of “blood diamonds” was raised, which triggered the eventual establishment of the Kimberley diamonds certification process introduced by the United Nations nine years ago. At the time, diamonds were said to be used to fuel the war, as the late Cpl Foday Sankor’s Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels to buy arms.
The alleged exchange of blood diamonds for weapons eventually landed the President of neighouring Liberia into the hands of the United Nations backed Sierra Leone Special Court on eleven count charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for allegedly supporting the RUF.
Global Witness decision to pull out of the Kimberley scheme with its damning criticisms raises a number of questions.
As one of the architects of the Kimberley process, is Global Witness itself free from any share of the blame? How much did civil society groups contribute to this failure to implement the scheme? Did Naomi Campbell’s blood diamond testimony in the Taylor trial influence Global Witness decision to pull out of the Kimberley process?
A statement from the London based NGO said, “Nearly nine years after the Kimberley Process was launched, the sad truth is that most consumers still cannot be sure where their diamonds come from, nor whether they are financing armed violence or abusive regimes.”
Back in 2010, Liberia’s General Auditing Commission (GAC) issued a report on the activities of the Kimberley office at the country’s Lands, Mines and Energy saying that the diamonds certification scheme was generally not holding.
"...The Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy cannot account for over 9,000 carats of diamond and is operating with unidentified mineral dealers, coupled with illegal revenue collection and usage," the GAC report said.
So after all, it remains to be seen what the fallout of the pull out of the London based campaign group will be for a scheme, which many of its staunch advocates made people to believe was a robust regulation and a hard nut to crack.
Annie Dunnebacke, Senior Campaigner of Global Witness is interviewed by WADR’s Frank Sainworla on the group’s decision to pull out of the Kimberley process.
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