The war in other countries is plentiful but few, in particular, have had the US dragged into them. One that is causing major conflict within surrounding countries is the wars and civil unrest in Central Africa. The government in some African countries has been overthrown by warlords and rebels in order to gain power and instill fear within African citizens. They fund war acts through the diamond trade. In this, they have slaves and kidnapped workers mine sunup to sundown to find diamonds and minerals that they sell illegally to other countries to fund their terror acts. The diamonds mined are better known as conflict diamonds and are true to name due to the conflict they cause. As many believe with outstanding evidence to support, The United Nations should work together to stop the export of conflict diamonds.
Starting off, the background of these notorious rocks should be better explained, “Conflict, or blood, diamonds are stones that are mined in war zones for the purpose of funding military actions by rebel forces…The war zones are primarily in Africa.” (Human 1). These diamonds that are illegally funneled into other countries to fund the war are causing major civil unrest throughout all countries in the United Nations in regards to human safety. “Many miners and diamond diggers travel great distances to find work and submit to grudgingly long hours for low wages – or sometimes no wages The informal mining industry is where workers tend to be most exploited…Child labor has long been a problem in informal diamond mines… Children have often been exploited to do excavation work.”(Cahill 2). The glamor of a diamond often has a dark unsettling past. The diamond begins within a natural cave underground until it is found by a miner, often unpaid or a slave worker or kidnapped child forced to work. After it is removed from the ground it is smuggled out of the country illegally with the profits more often than not going back to the warlords to fund their murderous and rebellious habits. The harsh reality many face is where these culprit diamonds end up, possible around your neck or on your hand as a symbol of status or a show of affection from a significant other, ”There are numerous factors that contribute to jewelry produced under conditions that violate the human rights of the workers. This jewelry could be called “conflict jewelry.”(Hight 3). Conflict jewelry does not meet the UN’s standards, meaning it cannot be legally sold, but this does not deter money hungry warlords who sell on the black market and continue the terrible cycle again and again. The history of blood diamonds is a truly dark one that should not be allowed to continue any longer.
Conflict diamonds have done nothing but cause trouble. Money from these illegal diamond sales is often used to finance an insurgency or a warlord in a country of civil unrest that cannot protect itself. “The Kimberley Process was created in 2003 to stop so-called “blood diamonds” that fund rebel groups from entering global markets. But a September 2015 Amnesty International report exposed systemic weaknesses in the scheme. Armed groups in the Central African Republic (CAR), for example, are profiting from the country’s internal diamond trade.”(Time 2). To explain in greater detail, the Kimberley Process is a mandate put into place by the UN to stop the illegal diamond trades going on and help those affected by it, but the process has loopholes that the rebels and diamond industry abuse to continue to profit of off the country’s downfall. Opposing sides argue with this in order to better protect themselves and their economic interest, “We can be really proud that the Kimberley Process helped to address rebel abuses… KP participants exported almost $10 billion dollars worth of rough diamonds. And the Kimberley process has played a role in promoting economic growth and stability.”(Remark 6). This is a statement made by Assistant Secretary Posner on the work of the KP who is paid by the Kimberley process to say that it is not failing and should continue to be funded, “Despite evidence exposing the clear need for change, the diamond industry reacted defensively to our report and ignored the issues we raised. They continue to hide behind the veneer of respectability offered by the Kimberley Process rather than taking responsibility for what happens along their supply chains.”(Time 4). Evidence shows that the Kimberley Process does not work in the way that was originally desired. Many diamond companies are still hiding within the loopholes and behind the African government’s claim of humane and clean diamond trades with money going back to the people and the country, which is known not to be true: The conflict diamonds funds all go to warlords and rebels with the loopholes within the KP and the African Government.
If someone gets kidnapped from their family or taken by gangs of violent people in the US many police forces and military members become involved to return this person to safety and take down whoever committed the said crime, but in other parts of the world such as central Africa, these crimes occur so often, they rarely go noticed. Rebel groups against the government take over small countries and use their citizens as forced workers and slaves, one use for them is in the diamond mines. These groups violate many human rights laws and racked up a laundry list of offenses against the African government, its citizens, and the UN. “Diamond companies must stop using the Kimberley Process to claim that their diamonds are free from human rights abuses and conflict,” Amnesty International said as the certification scheme holds its annual plenary in Luanda, Angola. “The Central African Republic’s (CAR) biggest traders have purchased diamonds worth several million dollars without adequately investigating whether they financed armed groups responsible for summary executions, rape, enforced disappearances, and widespread looting.”(Time 5). The CAR’s chain of command is currently corrupt and being overtaken by rebels and warlords. Some of the countries are being exposed for child labor, tax abuse, human rights violations, and many other illegal acts that create profits for the rebels in charge. The UN has tried to blacklist many countries from exporting diamonds with no prevail. But some claim there is no abuse within the system and work is voluntary, “Informal mining settlements like Angovia have been unexpectedly popping up in recent years across the West African country. For many years Ivory Coast’s economic fortunes were tied to agriculture… the government reckons there are now some 500,000 small-scale gold miners…The number of artisanal miners in Africa has grown from about 10m in 1999 to perhaps 30m today.”(Jobs 3). There are many self-employed miners working to keep afloat but this is a small number compared to the slave workers in all of Africa. “In 2003, the UN imposed sanctions on Ivory Coast, forcing the country to stop trading diamonds. The sanctions were put in place because the risk of conflict diamonds entering the regular circuit would have been too great otherwise,”(Ivory 2). says Margaux Donckier, spokeswoman for the AWDC. Ivory Coast has been abused before who’s to say it won’t happen once again. The diamond trade is brimming with abuse and human rights issues that many have ignored for far too long.
With conflict, diamonds comes to their namesake, conflict. These diamonds are more often than not a huge cause for government collapse, civil unrest, traitorous acts, and war. With all of this happening it makes it almost too easy for government opposed warlords to come in and take over countries with force. When this happens they sell out all mined resources to outside countries to fund the acts. Many countries and companies hide these minerals and their dark pasts to keep from the populations finding out they are privately funding wars and government overtaking. “CAR’s diamond companies could soon start exporting diamonds stockpiled during the ongoing conflict in which 5,000 have died. An export ban in place since May 2013 has been lifted by the Kimberley Process, which is responsible for preventing the international trade in blood diamonds. “If companies have bought blood diamonds, they must not be allowed to profit from them,” said Lucy Graham, Legal Adviser in Amnesty International’s Business and Human Rights Team. “The government should confiscate any blood diamonds, sell them and use the money for the public benefit. The people of CAR have a right to profit from their own natural resources.”(Companies 3). The Central African Republic recently went through and is still in conflict with surrounding areas regarding the diamonds mined in the area. As a result of this conflict 5,000 were killed in the crossfire. Lucy Graham believes the UN should confiscate any blood diamonds and sell them for public benefit to rebuild the areas affected hardest by the diamond trades awful consequences. Yet some countries have been allowed to profit off of their “legal” diamonds, ”Experts believe Ivory Coast has the potential to produce 150 to 200,000 carats of rough diamonds annually in the years ahead, representing a value of $25 million.”(Ivory 3). Ivory Coast was once a big country involved in the selling of ill-gotten minerals. After being ripped apart and rebuilt they may now continue this work above all the red tape that once struck them into economic debt. It is said that Ivory Coast has the earning potential of 25 million and that is set to grow, but what is unknown is if they may exploit their earning once again and ignore all the laws in effect once the hubble dies down and it can be easily overlooked by the UN. “The diamond-trading ban was imposed by the Kimberley Process, a global gem-verification group formed to halt the outflow of precious stones from conflict zones… With the earnings from conflict diamonds, the militias buy weapons, pay soldiers, enrich rebel leaders and keep ordinary citizens in fear, in refugee camps, or separated from their families.”(Vives 4). As suspected, the Central African Republic is continuing the illegal trade of blood diamonds for war profits. At the beginning of 2013 the government was overthrown by militias and rebels. With this new power, they began profiting off of illegal diamond trades. The revenue created by the diamond smuggling funded the rebellion and struck fear into neighboring citizens who were also made into working slaves. With this evidence, it is shown to be true that many companies are profiting off of the diamonds from war zones and the conflict from them is continuing to rise.
The pain and suffering generated by the tyranny of blood diamonds have lead to government overthrow, casualties from war crossfire, and countries being thrown into a whirlwind of abuse and fear. African rebels begin by overtaking governments and enslaving people within their mines to create profit and revenue for their terror acts. The United Nations need to work together to put an end to the illegal trade of conflict diamonds once and for all.
Cahill, Petra. “A Diamond’s Journey: Grim Reality Tarnishes Glitter.” Nbcnews.com, 29 June 2009, www.nbcnews.com/id/15842524/ns/world_news/t/diamonds-journey-grim-reality-tarnishes-glitter/#.WQJaJIgrKJc. Accessed 27 Apr. 2017.
“Companies must Not Profit from Blood Diamonds.” AllAfrica.com, Sep, 2015, SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.com.
Hight, Lauren. “The Fight for Ethical Jewelry.” University Wire, 2014, SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.com.
“Ivory Coast Resuming Diamond Trade Thanks to Belgium.” African Press Organisation – Database of Press Releases Related to Africa, 2014, SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.com.
“Jobs in Africa; in Praise of Small Miners.” Economist, May, 2016, pp. 45, SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.com.
“Remarks by Assistant Secretary Posner to the Kimberley Process..” Humanrights.gov, 2012, SIRS Government Reporter,https://sks.sirs.com.
Staff, ProQuest. Human Rights Timeline. Leading Issues Timelines, 2017, SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.com.
“Time for Diamond Companies to Stop Hiding Behind Kimberley Process.” Targeted News Service, 2015, pp. n/a, SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.com.Copy
Vives, Lisa. “Smugglers Peddle ‘Conflict Diamonds’ from Central African Republic..”SIRS Issues Researcher, 24 Mar, 2015,https://sks.sirs.com.