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Working To Ban Conflict Diamonds

The Kimberley Process met for its annual Plenary with more than three hundred-fifty delegates representing seventy different countries.

During the last week of November, U.S. Chair Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic and the other members of the U.S. Kimberley Process team worked to update regulations banning the trade of “conflict diamonds.” The Kimberley Process, or KP, met in Washington, D.C. for its annual Plenary with more than 350 delegates representing 70 different countries.

Working To Ban Conflict Diamonds
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The Kimberley Process has worked since 2003 to prevent the trade of “conflict diamonds,” which are defined as rough cut diamonds sold by rebel groups or their allies to finance conflicts against legitimate governments.

The KP agreed to continue discussion on updating the definition of “conflict diamonds” during South Africa’s Chairmanship next year. The U.S. supports updating the definition to include rough diamonds sold to fuel diamond-related armed violence or conflict. When the KP was founded, rebel groups funded by diamonds threatened governments and abused people across Africa. Violence seen today takes many forms and the KP must address consumer expectations that their diamonds are truly conflict-free.

The KP determined that the provision requiring the monitoring of Zimbabwe, which has been in place for the past year due to findings of non-compliance, will now lapse, citing good progress made by the country. “Zimbabawe put in a good faith effort,” said Ambassador Milovanovic, “Now they are fully compliant with the Kimberly Process.” Zimbabwe is still expected to follow practices developed over the past year and allow civil-society representatives access to the Marange diamond fields.

Access to Marange is required on account of the violence that occurred at the site, as well as need for continued assurance of compliance with KP standards.

The 2012 Plenary also chose to adopt the Washington Declaration, which will integrate development and best practices for the artisanal and small-scale mining into the KP. This is an important achievement which will help the small-scale miners who are at the beginning of the supply chain.

The 2012 Kimberley Process Plenary succeeded in setting up an Administrative Support Mechanism, or ASM. This will assist the KP Chair and other Participants in administration matters and give continuity and smooth transitions between the changing of Chairs. The industry umbrella group World Diamond Council was selected to provide the ASM starting January 1.

The U.S. continues its support of the KP as it seeks to enforce a peaceful and orderly trade of certified diamonds.