At the Kimberley Process Intersessional Meeting, held in Antwerp from 18-22 June, the KP civil society coalition (KP CSC) called for meaningful reforms, on the scope of the definition of conflict diamonds, on the KP’s governance structures, and on internal controls on governments to ensure a clean, conflict-free and legal diamond supply chains.
The KP CSC is dismayed over the lack of progress on addressing the issue of scope under the current reform. As a watchdog for the KP, the CSC has long called for broadening the conflict diamond definition as part of its efforts to defend the interests of small-scale and artisanal diamond miners, as well as communities, affected by diamond mining operations. The KP’s current diamond definition fails to reflect prevailing realities of the role that the diamond sector plays in conflict financing, and also fails to provide adequate assurances to ethically minded consumers looking to purchase blood-free diamonds. Rebel groups are no longer the only, or even main, perpetrators of diamond-related violence. Serious cases of violence and rights abuses perpetrated by state and non-state actors, including diamond companies, are of grave concern to the KP CSC. Such cases include excessive use of force, killings, torture, forced labour, displacement of communities, restrictions on freedom of movement, worst forms of child labour and environmental damage. In light of these grave concerns, the issue of scope and definition is crucial to the KP’s continuing relevance and the KP CSC will continue to call for meaningful reforms and progress in the run-up to and during the KP Plenary Meeting in Brussels in November 2018.
Of special concern to the KP CSC are the conflict diamonds flowing from war-torn Central African Republic (CAR). The KP CSC calls upon the government of CAR to show commitment to comply with the KP workplan and to build capacity to ensure information and data sharing with the KP CAR Monitoring Team. The KP CSC believes that more is needed to prevent the flow of conflict diamonds into the compliant zones currently in place within the CAR.