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conceptual mapping >  building peace  > Killing Kimberley ? Conflict diamonds and paper tigers

Partnership Africa Canada (PAC)

Killing Kimberley ? Conflict diamonds and paper tigers

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> Occasional Paper n° 15, November 2006

The « Kimberley Process » began in 2000 as a series of meetings among governments, NGOs and the private sector to solve the problem of conflict diamonds. Eventually, more than 70 governments joined to create the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) which began in 2003 to regulate the international trade in rough diamonds. In some ways, the KPCS has been very successful. But during 2005 and 2006, it started to become clear that the KPCS had weak spots. Implementation in some countries was poor, and major problems emerged. Massive KP-related fraud was uncovered in Brazil and Guyana, and a UN report documented the wholesale laundering of conflict diamonds from Côte d’Ivoire through neighbouring countries. In each case the Kimberley Process behaved like a disinterested bystander, its response tepid, late or nonexistent.

This report describes several serious problems that faced the Kimberley Process as it began its annual deliberations in Gaborone, Botswana in November 2006. Partnership Africa Canada was deeply concerned, in fact, that the Kimberley Process was in danger of collapse. PAC investigations in Brazil during 2005 and 2006 had uncovered massive diamond fraud under KP certification. A PAC study of KPCS implementation in Guyana found voluminous and systematic diamond smuggling. A UN Security Council report stated that Ghana had been certifying conflict diamonds from Côte d’Ivoire. The KP response to all of this had been weak, slow or non-existent. In addition, several participants had blocked consensus on important recommendations contained in a Three Year Review that could have strengthened the KPCS, and they blocked consensus on decisive action to deal with blatant cases of conflict diamonds and criminality.

date of on-line publication : 8 February 2007

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