What are 'conflict diamonds?' - CNN

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Conflict Diamonds - Diamond Facts

Diamonds that fuel civil wars are often called "blood" or "conflict" diamonds

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Governments, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations, diamond traders, financial institutions, arms manufacturers, social and educational institutions and other civil society players need to combine their efforts, demand the strict enforcement of sanctions and encourage real peace. The horrific atrocities in Sierra Leone and the long suffering of the people of Angola have heightened the international community's awareness of the need to cut off sources of funding for the rebels in order to promote lasting peace in those countries; such an opportunity cannot be wasted.



- Controls on conflict diamonds cut off sources of funding for rebels, help shorten wars and prevent their recurrence.

- Peace in diamond producing regions will bring about the potential for economic development and tax revenue for building infrastructure as legitimate mining ventures increase.

The international diamond industry is already taking steps to respond, such as the adoption by the World Diamond Congress, Antwerp, 19 July 2000, of a resolution which, if fully implemented, stands to increase the diamond industry's ability to block conflict diamonds from reaching market. Other efforts include the launching, at the initiative of African diamond-producing countries, of an inclusive, worldwide consultation process of Governments, industry and civil society, referred to as the Kimberly Process, to devise an effective response to the problem of conflict diamonds.

The tragic conflicts in Angola and Sierra Leone, fuelled by illicit diamond smuggling, have already led to action by the Security Council. Under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, targeted sanctions have been applied against UNITA in Angola and the Sierra Leone rebels, including a ban on their main source of funding -- illicit diamonds. Diamond sanctions have also been applied against Liberia but are not yet in effect.


Congo's Conflict Minerals: The Next Blood Diamonds | HuffPost
Blood diamonds are being sold with "conflict-free" certifications

Conflict Diamonds: The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme


In July 1999, following over eight years of civil conflict, negotiations between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front led to the signing of the Lome Peace Agreement under which the parties agreed to the cessation of hostilities, disarmament of all combatants and the formation of a government of national unity. The United Nations and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) helped facilitate the negotiations. In resolution 1270 of 22 October 1999, the Security Council established the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) to help create the conditions in which the parties could implement the Agreement. Subsequently, the number of personnel were increased and tasks to be carried out by UNAMSIL adjusted by the Council in resolutions 1289 of 7 February 2000 and 1299 of 19 May 2000, making UNAMSIL the largest peacekeeping force currently deployed by the United Nations.



Following international concern at the role played by the illicit diamond trade in fuelling conflict in Sierra Leone, the Security Council adopted resolution 1306 on 5 July 2000 imposing a ban on the direct or indirect import of rough diamonds from Sierra Leone not controlled by the Government of Sierra Leone through a Certificate of Origin regime. An arms embargo and selective travel ban on non-governmental forces were already in effect under resolution 1171 of 5 June 1998.

On 31 July and 1 August 2000, Ambassador Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1132 (1997) concerning Sierra Leone, presided over the first ever exploratory public hearing by the Security Council in New York. The hearing was attended by representatives of interested Member States, regional organizations, non-governmental organizations, the diamond industry and other relevant experts. The hearing exposed the link between the trade in illicit Sierra Leone diamonds and trade in arms and related materiel. The ways and means for developing a sustainable and well-regulated diamond industry in Sierra Leone were also discussed.




As called for by resolution 1306 of 5 July 2000, the Secretary-General, on 2 August 2000, established a Panel of Experts, to collect information on possible violations of the arms embargo and the link between trade in diamonds and trade in arms and related materiel, consider the adequacy of air traffic control systems in the West African region for the purpose of detecting flights suspected of contravening the arms embargo, and report to the Council with observations and recommendations on ways of strengthening the arms and diamonds embargoes no later than 31 October 2000. The Chairman of the Panel was Martin Chungong Ayafor (Cameroon). The other members were Atabou Bodian (Senegal), Johan Peleman (Belgium), Harjit Singh Sandhu (India) and Ian Smillie (Canada). The Panel submitted its report to the Security Council on 19 December 2000 (S/2000/1195). On 25 January 2001 the Security Council, at its 4264th meeting, considered the report of the panel of experts.

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The Office of Threat Finance Countermeasures (EB/TFS/TFC) advances policies that seek to minimize the funding available to a variety of groups that pose a threat to domestic, international and regional security. These groups include terrorists and regional insurgencies that exploit the illicit trade in conflict diamonds and conflict minerals to fund their operations against legitimate governments. Working with a range of domestic agencies and international partners, TFC integrates and leverages the expertise, authorities and resources available within the State Department and the U.S. government to pursue U.S. foreign policy and security objectives in these areas. In addition, TFC conducts outreach on threat finance issues to a wide range of interested parties, including foreign governments, NGOs, companies, and others.

Conflict Diamonds | Fair Trade Trends


Following the findings presented in the Sierra Leone Panel of Experts' report that the illicit trade in diamonds from Sierra Leone could not be conducted without the permission and involvement of the Liberian government officials, and that the Government of Liberia was actively supporting the RUF at the highest levels, the Security Council adopted resolution 1343 of 7 March 2001. By this resolution, a new Sanctions Committee of the Security Council was established, an arms embargo was re-applied and a Panel of Experts was mandated for a period of six months. In addition, the resolution indicated that if the Government of Liberia does not meet the demands specified by the Security Council within two months, all States would be mandated to take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect import of all rough diamonds from Liberia, whether or not such diamonds originated in Liberia, and a selective travel ban would be imposed.