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Conflict Diamonds - Introduction
Conflict Diamonds, or “Blood Diamonds” are precious stones mined in war-torn countries, primarily to fund insurgencies and conflicts with the intention to undermine, or overthrow a legitimate government. Conflict diamonds have funded civil wars in numerous countries throughout Africa, including Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo. More recently, it has transpired that large scale terrorist groups in the Middle East have also been using the diamond trade to launder money, and fund terrorist activities.
“Blood diamonds” are so named due to the barbaric practices employed by rebels tasked with diamond extraction and mining, as highlighted in the 2006 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. These practices include enforced slavery, torture and murder. Diamond mining in these “third world” countries has also led to an increase in the spread of rampant diseases and starvation, which in turn has led to the displacement of many millions of African citizens during the course of the past 20 years.
The Kimberley Process was incepted in 2000; the result of a long awaited African summit involving a number of large, diamond-producing states. During the summit, ambassadors from each country pledged to revise their existing trading laws, and where necessary, introduce sanctions that would help to control the influx and export of Conflict diamonds from their respective borders.
In December 2000, the UN (United Nations) gave formal authorisation for the international KPCS (Kimberley Process Certification Scheme), meaning that only diamond shipments within sealed and certificated freight containers could be imported and exported between participating countries. Shipments which did not conform to these guidelines, or bore no certification were prohibited from entering and leaving participant countries. The KPCS allowed countries to exercise greater control over inbound and outbound shipments, effectively severing any possible channels by which Conflict diamonds could be fed into the supply chain.
As of 2013, there are 54 active participants within the scheme. Their efforts combined has already helped to reduce the number of Conflict diamonds trickling through to retailers, and cut off illegitimate suppliers from the global market.
For more information regarding the KPCS scheme, please visit the official Kimberley Process website here.
Following the UN's formal adoption of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme in 2000, the World Diamond Council (WDC) established a System of Warranties to which all participating countries must adhere. Inaccordance with this motion, all suppliers, retailers and resellers of rough and polished diamonds are now required to include an assurance statement that declare their source of purchase, both on receipts and invoices, to help restrict the influx of conflict diamonds to major supply chains.
Issuing a warranty declaration on an invoice without being able to corroborate the statement with invoices received at the time of purchase is considered a breach of KPCS regulations. Furthermore, these warranties must be checked annually by independent auditors to affirm the company has not breached its responsibilities under the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.
Our Commitment Under the System of Warranties
As a responsible retailer, England Diamond seeks written guarantees from all of our suppliers and only trade with those who subscribe to the System of Warranties assurance. All invoices issued by England Diamonds will feature the System of Warranties assurance statement, and can be corroborated by warranty invoices received from suppliers.
We remain committed in our efforts to help eradicate the illegal trading of Conflict Diamonds, and pledge to support any and all initiatives established to achieve this. We also strongly believe in educating our customers, and will continue to do so with the publishing of relevant information and assurances on our website.
Facts and further reading: