Conflict diamond (also known as blood diamonds and hot diamonds or war diamonds) are precious stones that are not desirable at all. These diamonds change hands by way of trade during war or across the conflict zones in order to fund mass murder or killing of thousands of innocent people in the name of war. The diamonds are specifically found in Western and Central Africa where the military insurgents provide money by trading the conflict diamonds so that they can overthrow a legitimate government in power.

The usage of conflict diamonds were at its height in 1990 when it made up almost 4% of the diamond production worldwide. The growing trade of arming rebels by selling conflict diamonds came to be noticed in the latter half of the 1990s when a particularly brutal battle took place in Sierra Leone. Further investigation revealed that some of these conflict diamonds were also sold in the uncut form to pay for the violent uprising across most parts of Central and West Africa. Procurement and trading of the blood or conflict diamonds have been controlled to a certain extent after the UN took notice of the situation. The passage of conflict diamond has been decreased to 1% at present.

It is not only the men in the forefront of war who suffer from the illegal trading of conflict diamonds. Thousands of women and children have been tortured with a number of them dying prematurely as they were forced to extract the rough diamonds from river beds and gravel by using primitive methods that did not ensure their safety at all.

The diamond industry was concerned and formulated a policy of zero tolerance towards the conflict diamonds in 2000. The ‘Kimberley Process Certification System’ thus came into being with the diamond industry pledging to eradicate the trade of conflict diamonds from the world. The system also included various Governmental and Non Governmental organizations along with the United Nations. The resolution to protect the legalized diamond supply from the blood diamonds was adopted in 2003. A ‘System of Warranties’ is also in place today that guarantees the consumers of diamonds that have not been traded for facilitating conflict.

The objective of the Kimberly process was praiseworthy though as it attempted to stop the flow of blood diamonds for good and vowed to assist the weak, financially insecure governments with all round development schemes. It also succeeded in bringing a very large number of diamonds to the legitimate markets that would have turned into conflict diamonds otherwise. This helped to increase the revenues of many poor and under developed country in the Third World particularly Africa.

The total number of countries joining the Kimberly Process stands at 74 right now. The certification scheme requires each member to reveal the details of the diamond and vouch that the process of mining, cutting, polishing, and all sales procedure pertaining to the diamond remains free of conflict. Another important clause inserted into the Kimberly process is that the members are not allowed to trade with non members.

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Posted by Roy Izakov.
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