World Diamond Council Urges KP to Expand Definition of Conflict Diamonds

14/11/2018 10:43

Monday afternoon in Brussels at the opening of the Kimberley Process (KP) Plenary session, World Diamond Council (WDC) President Stephane Fischler urged the delegation to support the strengthening the KP by expanding the definition of conflict diamonds (Read full speech). The expanded definition proposed by the Canadian government includes diamonds associated with widespread and systematic violence. The WDC also voiced its support for principles for responsible sourcing proposed by the U.S. State Department.

Press release: Kimberley Process observers the World Diamond Council (WDC) and the Civil Society Coalition (CSC) voiced their strong support on the opening day of the 2018 KP Plenary Session of the Kimberley Process in Brussels, Belgium for a proposal put forward by the government of Canada to expand the KP’s official definition of what constitutes conflict diamonds. The proposed change would extend the definition beyond rough stones that finance wars against governments to include rough diamonds associated with other instances of grave, widespread and systematic violence.

More specifically, the proposal would expand the definition to include “rough diamonds used by public security forces or private (including criminal or mercenary) armed groups to acquire wealth through the illegal control, bribery, taxation, extortion or dispossession of people.”  It would also include rough diamonds “acquired through systematic and widespread violence, forced labor, the worst forms of child labor, or through violations of international humanitarian law.”

WDC also voiced its support for a declaration of general principles for responsibly sourced diamonds proposed by the United States Department of State covering human rights, community development, health and labor standards, environmental impacts, and the combatting of corruption, terrorism and organized crime.  Such a statement, which is intended to be a non-binding reflection of standards and commitments that have already been endorsed by countries and industry organizations representing major stakeholders in the diamond supply chain, is being put forward as another element of a strengthened KP.

In his speech to the KP Plenary on opening day, WDC President Stephane Fischler urged support for these proposals.  “This is a tremendous opportunity for us through the KP process to make a difference in the lives of people residing in some of the most challenged diamond-producing nations around the world. Just as we did 15 years ago when confronted by the reality of the product that has enriched so many lives was being abused to fuel a fight that cared little about human cost, we must now again use the power provided to us through our unique spirit of consensus to eliminate other causes of human suffering, in addition to civil rebellions.”

Its backers intend that the proposals will be the focus of discussions at the Plenary Meeting this week on strengthening the scope of the Kimberley Process. It has been recommended that a phased implementation be adopted, to provide KP participants adequate time to adopt the new conflict diamonds definition.
The proposals were drafted using the ideas that were put forward earlier this year including a meeting of an Ad Hoc Committee on Review and Reform (AHCRR) that was held in Pretoria, South Africa. That gathering had been convened to address how to strengthen the scope of the KP Core Document which outlines the rules and requirements that shape the KP Certification Scheme.  The proposals also reference concepts that were included in a reflection paper submitted by the European Union and expertise provided by WDC and CSC.