diamond squeeze coming?

  1. 5,447 Posts.
    With Liberia and Sierra Leone in the news it is interesting to know what powers the conflicts in this region.....Diamonds and smuggling of them.With troops building up,this may affect the supply of illicit diamonds to the market.This article may explain the lack of response from the US towards this long running conflict.It further reveals that the US policies abroad are greatly influeced by the supply of cheap imports of commodities,even if they are bloodstained.

    Diamond Mines in Sierra Leone
    June 18, 2002

    The following is a true copy of a Resolution adopted by the Executive Council at its meeting on June 10-13, 2002 in Durham, New Hampshire, at which a quorum was present and voting.

    Resolved, that the Executive Council, meeting in Durham, New Hampshire, June 10-13, 2002, affirms its concern for ongoing civil conflict in Sierra Leone and commends the leadership, courage and steadfast commitment of the faith communities in furthering a just peace in Sierra Leone; and that the Episcopal Church stand in solidarity with its sisters and brothers in Sierra Leone in their quest for a just and lasting peace; and be it further

    Resolved, that the Church recognizes that diamonds smuggled out of Sierra Leone, especially through Liberia and later sold in international markets undermine the democratically elected government of Sierra Leone and have been a root cause for the commission of gross violations of human rights; and be it further

    Resolved, that the Church recognizes and supports a Kimberley Process or international framework intended to bring an end to the flow of illegal diamonds in which the trade funds regional conflict and terrorist activities; and be it further

    Resolved, that the Church urges the United States government to implement those processes necessary to certify the country of origin for diamonds traded in international markets, and to ensure that the source of diamonds sold on the U.S. market are not channeled "conflict diamonds"; and be it further

    Resolved, that the Church urges the design of the international framework provide for careful international coordination, collection of reliable data and statistics, independent monitoring mechanisms, and strong reporting requirements, to make possible identification of source countries for illicit diamonds and instances of non-compliance; and be it further

    Resolved, that the Church identify and advocate viable complementary processes related to the trade of polished stones in an effort to block avenues which enable circumvention of the certification process.

    In recent years, tens of thousands of civilians in Sierra Leone have been killed or maimed in civil conflict as rebels seek to gain control of that country's diamond mines. Profits generated by the sale of diamonds have been used to fund wars and civil atrocities in Sierra Leone, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Of particular concern is the brutal tactics of rebels who routinely practice mutilation of innocent civilians, notably amputation of limbs and other body parts; force recruitment of child soldiers, and the abduction of women.

    The Diamond High Council of Antwerp, the channel for most of the African diamond market, reports that 30 million carats were exported from Liberia, a country which can only produce two percent of that amount. Much of the remaining trade volume is presumed to be from mines in Sierra Leone, funneled by rebels through Liberia. The UN Security Council imposed a temporary worldwide ban on the sale of diamonds of Sierra Leone until that government could establish a certification system and assert its authority over its diamonds.

    More recently, governments involved in trading diamonds, the diamond industry, and non-governmental organizations, under UN mandate, have collaborated to craft a certification system that seeks to end the trade in illicit diamonds. The result of this two-year international negotiation is the Kimberley Process. This framework provides for a global diamond certification system intended to stem the flow of diamonds from illicit sources or "conflict diamonds." The United States, as the largest diamond market in the world, must demonstrate world leadership, and should both support and implement an international certification process. Further, the U.S. and the international community should encourage the development of more credible monitoring and reporting functions, to provide for maximum transparency in order to minimize non-compliance or prevent exploitation of the voluntary process.

    Now that significant progress is being made to re-establish democracy in Sierra Leone and to repatriate and relocate refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), it is especially urgent that this longstanding cause of violence and political/civil upheaval be addressed

    The Rev. Rosemari G. Sullivan
    Secretary of the Executive Council and the Domestic
    and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant
    Episcopal Church in the United States of America

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