Members of the Civil Society Coalition (CSC), currently consisting of several NGOs which together form one of the three pillars of the Kimberley Process, met in Antwerp last week to reflect on its role in the Kimberley Process and on broader diamond governance. Representatives from nine member organizations from Africa and Europe participated in the meeting. According to a statement, the CSC says important points were widely discussed among Coalition members and in side-sessions with the current KP Chair and the President of the WDC, including the participation of the Coalition in the Kimberley Process and its operational management subsequent to IMPACT’s withdrawal. The Coalition reaffirmed that its core mandate in both the KP and as it relates to broader diamond governance is to defend the rights of local communities affected by diamond mining activities.
The Coalition is also greatly concerned by continued human rights violations which include killings, torture, displacements and environmental impacts directly linked to diamond mining activities. Consequently, the coalition is deeply concerned that the Kimberley Process continues to ignore the human cost of diamond mining and trade. Unfortunately, the concerns raised by Civil Society, a key pillar of the KP, have been largely ignored by KP participants and industry. It is our hope that the EU as the current KP chair will champion the reform agenda resulting in a widening of the definition of conflict diamonds adapted to local realities. We also expect that the EU will continue working to secure and enlarge space for civil society to meaningfully engage within the KP and to be treated seriously and respectfully by other KP members and observers.
The members of the Coalition have unanimously agreed that the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) will assume the coordination of the coalition with immediate effect. ZELA is the first African association to head the coalition.