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 Blood Diamond Trade Remains Unchecked 
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Post Blood Diamond Trade Remains Unchecked
by: Dr Wendy Stenberg-Tendys

Created to stem the flow of illegal diamonds, The Kimberley Process is on the tip of collapse, as its leading designer, Ian Smillie, leaves angrily. He says governments and the industry have to act against gross violations.

Blood Diamonds are used to feed civil wars, conflict and human right abuses. Topping the list is Zimbabwe, where around 10-20,000 illegal diamond miners were brutally murdered last year by the army, as the government took over control of a major mining area. Both illegal workers and the African Consolidate Resources were evicted from the area by government officials.

Enormous havoc can be caused in a nation by just a small number of conflict diamonds. It is now believed that up to 20% of the world's diamonds are from the unlawful trade of Blood Diamonds. The Kimberley Process, created by governments to halt the trade has failed to reach its goal, because of a lack of implementation. Stones to the value of $23 million enter the industry from Sierra Leone alone, being certified as legal.

Most of the African diamond-rich nations are extremely poor, with no assistance flowing down to the people from their countries mineral riches.

•Around one million artisanal diamond miners working the diamond fields live in poverty

•They operate in dangerous and filthy conditions, with little hope they will find any stones

•Miners sell their diamonds in Sierra Leone for 1/5th of the stone's worth when it eventually leaves the country

•The majority of profits are gobbled up by middle-men, traders and exporters who combine together to defraud the artisanal miners in a market that is contrived, being neither free nor fair.

•Artisanal minors work in conditions that are unsafe, facing mine collapses, murders, beatings, kidnappings, detentions and exploitation. Many regions use child labour.

"100% of Venezuela's diamonds are smuggled", reports Global Witness. Guinea has shown an unbelievable 500% increase in diamond production annually. Lebanon exports more rough diamonds than it imports, but has no local deposits. Yet these nations have not been suspended from the diamond industry by the Kimberley Process.

"What's the point of having a stick if the stick is never used? Zimbabwe should be suspended", says lead campaigner from Global Witness, Anni Dunnebacke.

"If the Kimberley Process collapses completely, the diamond trade would go back to its criminal past and rebel armies would have no problem finding buyers for their blood diamonds", says Ian Smillie.

About The Author
Dr Wendy Stenberg-Tendys and her husband are CEO's of YouMe Support Foundation ( providing high school education grants for children who are without hope. A chance to fulfill their dreams at whatever level they chose to. Take a few minutes to check it all out at Win A Resort (

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Tue Nov 03, 2009 2:46 pm
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