As the Kimberley Process Intersessional kicks off this morning in Mumbai, the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition (KPCSC) have made a forceful call to the KP Member States to finally address the issue of conflict diamonds, Continued violence in diamond production, it warns, threatens the relevance of the KP as well as long-term African diamond revenues by fuelling ethics concerns about the sector.
The EU Plenary, which brings together the three pillars of the KP and its many stakeholders, was marked as a unique opportunity to advance the ambitious reform agenda set in 2017. Under the leadership of the EU, the KP discussed an agenda with three priorities: a deepening of the KP, including the reinforcement of the system of controls and the transformation of KP recommendations into minimum requirements; an expansion of the KP by broadening the definition of conflict diamonds; and professionalization of the KP by, among others, the establishment of a permanent KP secretariat.
The EU Chairmanship of the Kimberley Process and the ongoing review of the KP provide a unique opportunity to transform it into a tool not just for conflict prevention, but also for sustainable development, the AWDC told us yesterday afternoon. The gathering momentum for transforming the KP's very narrow definition of conflict diamonds during this year’s Chairmanship will only be brought to fruition through the concerted efforts of all the public and private actors across the diamond value chain.
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.
The African Diamond Conference (ADC), a joint initiative of Belgium's Federal Public Service (FPS) Foreign Affairs and the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), took place yesterday at the Egmont Palace in Brussels. With nearly 400 in attendance, the ADC featured a broad range of speakers from across the entire diamond pipeline - from mine to finger - as well as diamond industry stakeholders.
Zimbabwe NGO Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) said the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) does not have the capacity to mine diamonds from kimberlite sources, reports Rough-Polished, adding that the wholly owned state company set up early last year had no equipment of its own, and would likely turn to foreign investors to develop in Tsvingwe (Penhalonga) in Manicaland Province, which is believed to hold kimberlitic diamonds. “A 50/50 joint venture is likely to be negotiated between ZCDC and its partner.
In his latest Diamond Intelligence Briefs, “Keeping Stock of U.S. Kimberley Process Certificates”, industry analyst Chaim Even-Zohar takes another hard look at the U.S. rough diamond trade and the country’s half-hearted approach when it comes to implementing Kimberley Process (KP) certification standards domestically.
Cameroon is allowing conflict diamonds from the Central African Republic to cross over its borders and into the legal supply chain due to poor controls, smuggling and corruption, Partnership Africa Canada said in a report published today.
Earlier this week, Kimberley Process (KP) chair Ahmed Bin Sulayem issued a press release extending an, "Invitation to Civil Society to Attend [KP] Plenary", [civil society = NGOs] and also shared with the CSC a document providing an in-depth response addressing previous issues and concerns raised by the CSC at the beginning of the UAE KP Chairmanship ("Proposal for a Remediation Between the 2016 KP Chair and the Members of the Civil Society Coalition").
JCK's award-winning news director Rob Bates sat down for a chat with Internet radio program "The Daily Beat" on Breakthru Radio (BTR) to talk all things diamonds, and in particular the Kimberley Process and diamonds in American culture.
BTR: What effect did the movie Blood Diamonds (2006) and reports after that have on the diamond industry?
In the lastest installment of the Diamond Intelligence Briefing (DIB), diamond industry analyst Chaim Even-Zohar presents a searing indictiment of the rough diamond trade in the United States, "The world's most convenient and 'uncontrolled' rough transfer market", claiming that, "The main justification for the overwhelming bulk of the (U.S.) rough trade is pure transfer pricing*." This rough diamond 'stopover' in the U.S. also "endangers the integrity of the legitimate U.S.
Award-winning news director of JCK Rob Bates, in his opinion piece "Why the NGOs and Dubai Still Can’t Get Along", addresses the persistent conflict between Kimberley Process (KP) chair UAE and the KP civil society coalition - the group of 11 human rights groups that participate in the KP - that is threatening to turn the upcoming KP interessional meetings into a failure: "the recent turn of events looks like we are in for another year of stagnation and animosity, and the scheme will once again fail to make needed improvements, despite the UAE’s promises last year of a fruitful, pr
Transparency International (TI) is a NGO that monitors corporate and political corruption in international development. Its Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks countries based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. It is a composite index drawing on corruption-related data collected by a variety of reputable institutions, based on views of observers from around the world.
Ahmed bin Sulayem, the chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, has been appointed by the UAE's Ministry of Economy as the chairman of the Kimberley Process which the UAE will chair in 2016. “The UAE will use this opportunity to focus on areas that will have the greatest impact on growth and development, in addition to sustaining the core values of the organization,” he told The National. He added that he would have an “open door” for organizations that have threatened to boycott the KP proceedings in Dubai.
The two-day Jewelry Industry Summit, which aims to provide a forum for all parts of the diamond and jewelry industry to discuss sourcing issues, is due to take place at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City from March 11 to 13. Also attending will be representatives of government and NGOs, as well as consumer and marketing experts and service providers such as banks and industry trade associations.
This week's Kimberley Process Plenary in Angola has not been without its share of controversy, with civil society announcing that it will not participate in a UAE-led KP in 2016 and World Diamond Council (WDC) President Edward Asscher welcoming the criticism (when justified) as well as participation of the NGOs.
We need to engage with the NGOs and embrace their scrutiny if their criticism of the system is justified. We all have blind spots, but we should never turn a blind eye to their findings. Where they are justified in their criticism, we should adjust; where they are wrong, we should tell them, without any doubt, professionally and openly ... We would deeply regret if the Civil Society Coalition would not attend next year's Intercessional and Plenary meetings in Dubai.
Zimbabwean state-owned newspaper The Sunday Mail claims the US and Australia are conspiring with NGO’s and local opposition members against Zimbabwe, which they attribute to Zimbabwe’s support for the United Arab Emirates’ candidacy, challenging the Australian bid, as Vice-Chair of the Kimberley Process. The newspaper claims Washington is behind “exaggerated” and “falsified” reports on illicit diamond trading in Chiadzwa, trying to destabilize the country “by sponsoring activists to pose as illegal vendors” and other “smear campaigns” that claim the country is in deep crisis .
A group of human rights NGOs in the DRC have appealed directly to President Kabila to secure the restitution of a 822-carat diamond to its rightful owner. The diamond was seized in 2005 by Belgian customs for attempted fraudulent export and dubious origin, and returned to the competent authorities in the DRC, but the diamond has never been returned to its owner, despite Kabila's promise that it would be. The NGOs claim that representatives of Kabila's government have violated the rights of and threatened the owner, Theodore Mbiya Kalala.
Garth Meintjes, Executive Director of the International Senior Lawyers Project, writes about the trial of Angolan journalist Rafael Marques de Morais. Meintjes argues that the court should uphold the principle now codified in the statute of the International Criminal Court that those who know about, or should have known about, the actions of their subordinates or others whom they control, bear responsibility for the crimes that result.
The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) has called on government to desist from political interference in the process of consolidating diamond mining companies in the country. The call came amid revelations that there was poor progress being made in bringing together the mining companies.
Civil society has called on the government of Zimbabwe to stop all diamond mining activities and institute an independent commission of inquiry to establish what went wrong in Marange. The Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) and Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT) are deeply concerned that the government is going ahead with merging Marange diamond companies without consulting key stakeholders. The Marange communities stand to be severely affected by the decision to merge.
JCK's Rob Bates discusses the case of Rafael Marques de Morais, the Angolan NGO activist that is currently standing trial in his home country, facing charges of defamation by seven government-connected generals over his book Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola. Marques de Morais, who has written and spoken frequently about the human rights problems in the country’s diamond fields, potentially faces emprisonment.
Dubai Diamond Exchange Chairman’s speech at the Zimbabwe Diamond Conference, which took place on 6-7 November, incited much controversy. The onslaught against Dubai continued at last week’s Kimberley Process Plenary session in Guangzhou, with civil society actively lobbying against Dubai becoming the Vice Chair of the Kimberley Process.
Survival International condemned Botswana for opening a diamond mine on Bushmen's ancestral land, nearly a decade after the government stated there were no plans to mine in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.