Some of you may have seen the film “Blood Diamond”(2006) starring Leonardo DiCaprio which highlights diamonds being illegally traded to fund the conflict in the war-torn areas of Sierra Leone and Angola in Africa during the 90s. These diamonds are called blood diamonds or conflict diamonds because the rebels that sell these diamonds use the money to purchase arms or to fund their military actions.Blood Diamond gems are also often produced through the forced labour of men, women and children.
Thankfully the amount of blood diamonds that come onto the market now are thought to be relatively small. This is because, back in 2003, a governing body called the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was set up to track and to verify that diamonds are coming from ethical sources. The Kimberley Process now has 54 participants, representing 81 countries who have agreed to help try to eliminate the availability of conflict diamonds.
The KPCS imposes extensive requirements on its members to enable them to certify shipments of rough diamonds as ‘conflict-free' and prevent conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate trade. The certification process accounts for all rough diamonds, through every step of their movement, from mine to retail sale.
Since the Kimberley Process began it’s now estimated that just 5-10% of all gem diamonds in the world are conflict diamonds. The Kimberley Process is not 100% perfect though and has some limitations in the way it works along with also trying to deal with the persistent levels of corruption which seem to reside in various areas of a diamond’s journey to the international market.
At the moment the Kimberley Process is the only professional body that is trying to monitor the trade in illegal blood diamonds. Although, there are calls for an assistant body to help improve the monitoring.
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