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Marketplace Africa

Is 'blood diamond' definition about to change?


From Robyn Curnow, CNN and Victoria Eastwood
February 14, 2012 -- Updated 1241 GMT (2041 HKT)

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Marketplace Africa
Is the Kimberley Process in crisis?

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Gillian Milovanovic is the first U.S. chair of the U.N.- backed Kimberley Process Milovanovic says the definition of blood diamonds will 'certainly be looked at' Last year, founding member Global Witness pulled out of the process The move followed the sale of diamonds from Zimbabwe's controversial Marange fields

(CNN) -- The newly-appointed U.S. chair of the international diamond watchdog has called for a review of what constitutes a "blood diamond." According to the Kimberley Process, launched in 2003 to certify that diamonds do not come from conflict zones, blood diamonds are rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance armed conflicts aimed at undermining legitimate governments. Now, Gillian Milovanovic, who was named chair of the Kimberley Process in late January, wants the definition to be broadened. "One of the things which will certainly be looked at and which we certainly support looking at and believe should get a close look is whether that definition is still sufficiently encompassing or appropriate given today's challenges," she said in an exclusive interview with CNN's Robyn Curnow.

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Is 'blood diamond' definition changing?


February 14, 2012 -- Updated 1241 GMT (2041 HKT)

The newly-appointed U.S. chair of the international diamond watchdog has called for a review of what constitutes a "blood diamond."

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Milovanovic's chairmanship comes at a challenging time for the scheme, following the fallout from its decision last year to allow Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe to sell diamonds from its controversial The Kimberley Process Marange fields. started when Southern African
What is the Kimberley Process? diamond-producing states met in Kimberley, South Africa, in May 2000, to discuss ways to stop the trade in conflict diamonds and ensure that diamond purchases were not funding violence.

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The move was criticized by activists and led to Global Witness, one of the initiative's founding members, to pull out of the process in December, saying the diamond regulatory group had refused "to evolve and address the clear links between diamonds, violence and tyranny." An edited version of Milovanovic's interview follows.

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The result was an agreement by the United Nations, CNN: Is the Kimberley Process in crisis? European Union, the

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European Union, the governments of 74 countries, the World Diamond Council -representing the industry -and a number of interest groups such as Global Witness. They established the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), whereby members are required to certify that all rough diamond exports are produced through legitimate mining and sales activities and are "conflict-free." Each shipment carries a certificate that details where the diamonds came from, how they were mined, where they were cut and polished, the parties involved, and their ultimate destination. The idea is that members of the Kimberley Process cannot trade with non-members.

Gillian Milovanovic: No, I do not believe so. In fact, I'm very pleased to have an opportunity to be the chair at this time because we are essentially on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the Process. Read more: What are 'conflict diamonds?' CNN: Global Witness, one of the founding members, has pulled out -- they said it was because they were shocked that the Kimberley Process had authorized sales of diamonds from Marange fields in Zimbabwe. What's your reaction to that? GM : Obviously we're very sorry that that was the decision that Global Witness took, they were one of the founding members of the process -- unfortunate, sad development but the bridges are not cut as far as we are concerned and certainly I intend to talk with everyone. CNN: Their decision came after the authorization of diamond sales from Zimbabwe, very controversial fields in Marange. GM : Well certainly for two years the Kimberley Process labored to find a solution to how to handle the diamonds from Marange -November of last year the process made a decision, the United States deliberately chose to abstain in order to allow the process to continue and in order to move forward. Now that said, I think that for our chairmanship the experience of the difficulties that we're experiencing in finding a solution for the Marange diamonds are an impetus to looking at how well the Kimberley Process is situated to deal with today's challenges. Read also: Campaign group pulls out of 'blood diamond' scheme CNN: From the U.S. perspective, you said you've abstained from that decision, why has the U.S. particularly imposed sanctions against one of the companies operating in Marange?

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My role as I see it is to give impetus, to show leadership but to understand that it is the organization that is ultimately going to be responsible for the decisions that are made.
Gillian Milovanovic, Kimberley Process chair

GM : The United States, on a bilateral basis of course, has sanctions against Zimbabwean identified entities. Essentially these are imposed because these entities are undermining democracy and democratic institutions. And it happens that some entities which are designated by our process as having to do with undermining democracy are in fact 50 per cent or more shareholders in diamond mines in Marange and hence the link between the two things. CNN: There is a sense of contradiction here -- why didn't you veto it, particularly because the U.S. has sanctions against some companies in the Zimbabwean diamond fields. GM : But there is also, one could argue, a similar situation in the fact that the Kimberley Process indeed made a decision by consensus, minus us, that to certify diamonds from a number of mines, whereas those same diamonds cannot be imported into the United States, that is the

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situation. With respect to my own chairmanship, I have been asked to be the chair and therefore my role as I see it is to give impetus, to show leadership but to understand that it is the organization that is ultimately going to be responsible for the decisions that are made. See video: How to avoid buying 'blood diamonds' CNN: Do you see the definition of a blood diamond being widened? GM : A diamond. the proceeds of which are used by illicit guerrilla or rebel entities trying to overthrow a legitimate government, that was
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the basis on which the organization was founded. One of the things which will certainly be looked at and which we certainly support looking at and believe should get a close look is whether that definition is still sufficiently encompassing or appropriate given today's challenges. CNN: How can you be sure as a consumer that the diamonds that you have on your finger are not being used to finance a corrupt or conflict scenario? GM : I think that it's important that the consumers do understand that it's not a conflict diamond in the sense of the definition which exists, mainly the guerrillas are not using the money from this to conduct bloody wars to overthrow a legitimate government. Now, if one is looking for something beyond that as a consumer that is the kind of question that one needs to address to the person who is selling the diamond.
Teo Kermeliotis contributed to this report

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Showing 25 of 49 comments Sort by newest first

ZazaFL
The Kimberly Process is deeply flawed especially with regard to Israeli blood diamonds. It means that no-one of conscience can buy diamonds as they could well be funding apartheid, occupation and warcrimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian people. This anomaly in the Process renders it null and void as a safety net to prevent blood diamonds from contaminating the market.

cburke4now
Oh I have some conserns alright. Seems I was just reading the other day about how the mining practices of maximum 'blood profit' was maybe not starting wars or such, but infact people/workers are dieing....large. Corest me if I'm wrong, but a blind eye is far from what is needed. I also am willing to bet that the profits from the industry are far from returning back to the land or the people themselves. Another fine example of mismangement of the golden laying goose to the benefit of the few and to the
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ignorance of the consumer.Diamonds are a girls best friend, really? Not my unmaterial girls.

idontlikeu9
Spell check bro

Iamme
How does this comment violate CNN guidelines? Why was it deleted earlier?

Avery weak interview that failed to expose the elephant in the Kimberley Process room. The Kimberley Process regulations were drawn up by a cartel of the vested interests in the diamond industry with minimal input from human rights groups. The World Diamond Council drafted the regulations that were rubber-stamped by the UN. The Kimberley Process was seriously flawed from the outset as it only applies to the trade in rough diamonds that fund rebel groups. Diamonds that fund rogue governments that are guilty of gross human rights violations evade the regulation. Its a little mentioned fact that Israel is one of the worlds leading exporters of cut and polished diamonds, supplying 40% of the diamond sales in the US. The diamond industry in Israel generates over $1 billion p.a. in funding for the Israeli military. While public attention is kept focused on Zimbabwe where government forces stand accused of killing 200 people in 2008, the trade in diamonds from Israel evades scrutiny by the public or the Kimberley Process even though Israeli forces killed over 1400 people, including more than 300 children in Gaza in the winter of 2008/2009. AUN investigation found evidence that Israeli forces committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. Human Rights groups want a review of the KP definition of a conflict diamond to include diamonds that fund government forces guilty of human rights violations and a broadening of the scope to include the polished diamonds. However the US Chair has already indicated that any review of the definition of a conflict diamond is unlikely to include the polishing industry thus ensuring that Israels burgeoning diamond industry evades the human rights criteria applied to rough diamonds. Consumers can have no confidence in the KP system of self-regulation designed and enforced by the vested interests in the diamond industry.

ZimBoy
The number of people killed by our security forces was actually much less than 200. They were mainly illegal border jumpers from as far away as Lebanon, Israel, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, etc.They had been told by the Western media that it was a free for all in Zim and you could just walk in and take whatever you wanted. The security forces warned them and Global Witness was there at the time and did nothing. They wanted a few people to be shot (as long as they were black), take their pictures and label our diamonds blood diamonds...all because we are the biggest threat to the De Beers monopoly!!

mr774
Adiamond. It's only but a carbon block to me.

crabman1
lip stick on a pig ------ window dressing -------- still the same problem

Franksua Ksav'e Ada


Sad and pathetic ... Regulating a problem is not solving it

FreeUSA65

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They're just shiny rocks. Just say no to spending hard-earned money on shiny rocks.

ACKid
Rocks that are worth a lot of money!

Iamme
Censorship is the resourse of those who have something to hide and can't defend their position with logical argument and reasoned discussion. Too bad that CNN has to resort to such tactics in order to prevent readers from learning about the trade in Israeli diamonds that fund war crimes and possible crimes against humanity, according to the UN HRC.

mimis8
The killings must stop! The West can and must continue to implement sanctions... Tougher sanctions against 'rough' diamonds! STOP THE KILLINGS!

null
Blood diamonds or BLOOD OIL think his many people died in Iraq alone. WhyAfricans have oil and starvation think blood oil

ShadowSnw
What about cell phone minerals? Who is benefiting from them?

lsayta
Just make sure you buy quality Canadian Polar Bear or Maple Leaf Diamonds. PS: They are not found in the Oil Sands. They are mined North of 60.

agourd
Gourds and vines

cassyricky
This whole phrase of "Blood Diamonds" is a smoke screen created by De Beers who want to control the supply of diamonds worldwide. They want to create the impression that unless you buy diamonds from them at an extorted price you are buying conflict diamonds. Nothing could be further from the truth and its high time that we gave some credability to the poor Africans who are risking life and limb to find diamonds for themselves. Contrary to popular belief diamonds are not rare ; it is the stockpiling and market manipulation by De Beers that establishes an unrealistic price for diamonds. This is a mafia like organisation that has bought many governments. In fact, the movie "Blood Diamond" was commisioned and paid for by them as false propaganda. How can we allow one single organisation the power to control the sale of diamonds world wide - have we lost our collective minds?

smartyjones3
Somebody work for and get fired by De Beers? lol

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enricorosan
Artificial diamonds are nicer, faultless, come in all sizes,can be tinted in all colors of the rainbow and above all they don't have the blood of the poor enslaved miners on them. It is up to the consumer to choose which do they want.

PhilThrill
All diamonds are blood diamonds.

Eyesofpearls
Who chose this woman? We need a strong man to deal with this, not somebody who should be knitting mittens for her grandchildren...

Jukwa
So let's get this straight the european THIEVES produce no diamonds; yet they want to dictate and dominate the trade in diamonds, and with the highly political PRETEXT that this historically racist & conflict-loving lot do give a dam about the 'blood' of Africans? Ha ha ha! Leave it to the under-educated and mis-educated Americans to buy into the transparent nonsense and propaganda. lol

Cal78
I was more concerned with the people going into villages, cutting off peoples hands, and forcing everybody into slave labor mining diamonds. I told people "conflict free" was a load of bs. The scenario I mentioned, sounds like a conflict to me.

m1sterlurk
They do not mention a single time that even in "stable" countries, diamond mining is tantamount to slavery.

Cal78
Why would Americans care? I mean these are Africans on the other side of the world and they need to feed their vanity.

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