Definition and Characteristics of Blood Diamonds
- Blood diamonds are diamonds mined in war zones and sold to finance conflict.
- They are also known as conflict diamonds, brown diamonds, hot diamonds, or red diamonds.
- The term highlights the negative consequences of the diamond trade in certain areas.
- Civil wars in Angola, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau have been associated with blood diamonds.
- Blood diamonds can be smuggled by organized crime syndicates for sale on the black market.
Financing Conflict through Blood Diamonds
- Valuable resources, such as diamonds, can motivate and sustain armed conflicts.
- Commodity prices alone are not enough to determine the economic value of a natural resource in conflict.
- Gemstones, like diamonds, are light and small but have high value, making them easily looted.
- Alluvial deposits of diamonds can be exploited cheaply by rebels, while deep mining requires capital-intensive facilities.
- Rebels and government parties negotiate deals to realize future value from resource exploitation, allowing resources to finance fighting.
History of Blood Diamonds in Angola, Ivory Coast, and the Democratic Republic of Congo
- In the 1980s, up to 21% of diamond production in Angola was used for illegal and unethical purposes, including conflict.
- By 1999, the illegal diamond trade in Angola was reduced to 4% of global production.
- The World Diamond Council reported that by 2004, this percentage fell to approximately 1%.
- Ivory Coast developed a diamond mining industry in the early 1990s but experienced a civil war in 1999.
- The Democratic Republic of Congo has experienced looting wars in the 1990s but is now a member of the Kimberley Process.
Specific Cases of Blood Diamonds - Sierra Leone, Liberia, Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe
- Sierra Leone experienced a brutal civil war from 1991 to 2002, with the rebel group Revolutionary United Front (RUF) controlling diamond mines for funding.
- Liberian President Charles Taylor supported the RUF insurgency in Sierra Leone, leading to UN sanctions on Liberian diamond trade.
- The Republic of Congo was expelled from the Kimberley Process in 2004 for exporting large quantities of diamonds without proper documentation.
- Diamonds from Zimbabwe's Marange Diamond Fields were considered conflict-free by the Kimberley Process, but the industry has faced allegations of human rights abuses and corruption.
Response and Policies - Conflict Diamond Campaign, Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, American and Canadian Policies, Technology Response
- The Conflict Diamond Campaign by Global Witness and the recognition of conflict diamonds as a funding source for wars by the United Nations led to the establishment of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.
- The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is an international certification system on the export and import of diamonds, aiming to ensure they are conflict-free.
- The United States implemented the Clean Diamond Trade Act (CDTA) to enforce the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, while Canada has its own legislation and certification program.
- Technology responses include the use of blockchain technology to track diamond movement and enhance transparency and accountability in the diamond industry.
Blood diamond Data Sources