A proposal from the government of Canada to expand the definition of conflict diamonds has received strong backing from industry bodies. At the launch of the 2018 Kimberley Process (KP) Plenary, held in Belgium this week, the World Diamond Council (WDC) and Civil Society Coalition (CSC) expressed their support for the initiative.
Presently, the definition of a conflict diamond is limited in scope, covering only roughs used to finance wars against governments. The proposed expansion would add to this, covering “rough diamonds used by public security forces or private (including criminal or mercenary) armed groups to acquire wealth through the illegal control, bribery, taxation, extortion, or dispossession of people.”
In addition to rough gems being used in this way, the new definition would also extend to diamonds acquired wrongfully (e.g. through systematic violence, forced labour, child labour, or violations of humanitarian law).
At the plenary, WDC and CSC also voiced their endorsement of a proposal from the U.S. government setting out principles for responsibly sourced diamonds. Building on the standards of major diamond supply chain stakeholders, these principles would consider:
- human rights;
- community development;
- health and labour standards;
- environmental impact; and
- efforts to combat corruption, terrorism, and organized crime.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for us, through the KP, to make a difference in the lives of people residing in some of the most challenged diamond-producing nations around the world,” said Stephane Fiscler, WDC’s president, of the two proposals.
The initiatives are based on input from the European Union (EU), CSC, and WDC as well as KP participants in Pretoria, South Africa. They are set to be discussed in further detail throughout this week’s plenary. If they are implemented, a phased approach allowing appropriate time for adoption has been recommended.