Wednesday, March 22, 2006

"CONFLICT DIAMONDS"/"BLOOD DIAMONDS" Fuelling War & Child Labor

Via:UN
What follows are excerpts from a UN article on "Conflict Diamonds":

What is a conflict diamond?
Conflict diamonds are diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments, or in contravention of the decisions of the Security Council.

How can a conflict diamond be distinguished from a legitimate diamond?
A well-structured 'Certificate of Origin' regime can be an effective way of ensuring that only legitimate diamonds -- that is, those from government-controlled areas -- reach market. Additional controls by Member States and the diamond industry are needed to ensure that such a regime is effective. These measures might include the standardization of the certificate among diamond exporting countries, transparency, auditing and monitoring of the regime and new legislation against those who fail to comply.

Fuelling wars
Rough diamond caches have often been used by rebel forces to finance arms purchases and other illegal activities. Neighbouring and other countries can be used as trading and transit grounds for illicit diamonds. Once diamonds are brought to market, their origin is difficult to trace and once polished, they can no longer be identified.

Who needs to take action?
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.

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