The Blood Diamond Certification Process Shows Major FlawsBy
The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme seemed like a brilliant method of furthering global human rights when it was introduced in 2003. It was designed to certify the origin of diamonds to ensure that the sources were free of conflicts funded by the production of diamonds. The Kimberly Process was meant to define rough diamonds, also known as blood diamonds, in order to keep them out of the markets. Now, on of the founders of the Kimberly Process is withdrawing its support due to glaring flaws in its implementation.
Global Witness, a human rights watchdog organization, pulled its support of the Kimberly Process on December 5, 2011. Like many other critics of the Process, Global Witness explained that the system is not effectively addressing many problem areas regarding non-compliance and human rights violations. Countries such as Zimbabwe are producing, what many feel are, conflicted diamonds into the diamond market. They are able to do this because of flaws in the definitions within the Kimberly Process.
The Kimberly Process prevents the sale of diamonds that are financing rebellious movements. Zimbabwe’s Marange mine is run by a legitimate state government, not a rebel group. Human rights groups have sited terrible violations, including the deaths of at least 200 miners in 2008. However, because the mine is operating under a legitimate government, the diamonds are entering the market with the Kimberly Process Certification. The end consumer has no knowledge of the true origin of their diamonds.
This loophole, along with other claims of abuse and inefficiency, are causing a strong demand for a re-structuring of the Kimberly Process. The Process could be improved through the redefining of rough diamonds to include human right abuses perpetrated within government-sponsored mines. This would place mines, such as Zimbabwe’s Marange mine, under higher scrutiny.
Getting governments to abide by strict regulations will be an uphill battle. Countries do not want to add any regulations to an industry that provides them millions in revenue each year. If the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme remains as it is, it could be doing more harm than good. With the certification in place, consumers become complacent and believe that the blood diamond problems have been dealt with satisfactorily. Obviously, there is still a long way to go, and more work to be done.