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Global Witness leaves KP over Marange diamonds

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International group, Global Witness, has left the Kimberley Process (KP) — the international certification scheme established to stop trade in blood diamonds — over what it says is failure to stop diamonds fuelling corruption and violence in the country.

Global Witness has been an official observer in the Kimberley Process since 2003 and a member of the KP Civil Society Coalition.

In a statement the group said KP’s refusal to evolve and address clear links between diamonds, violence and tyranny has rendered it increasingly outdated.

It said despite intensive efforts by a coalition of non-governmental organisations, the scheme’s main flaws and loopholes have not been fixed and most of the governments that run the scheme continue to show no interest in reform.

“Nearly nine years after the Kimberley Process was launched, the sad truth is that most consumers still cannot be sure where their diamonds come from, nor whether they are financing armed violence or abusive regimes,” said Charmian Gooch, a founding director of Global Witness.

“The scheme has failed three tests: It failed to deal with the trade in conflict diamonds from Ivory Coast; was unwilling to take serious action in the face of blatant breaches of the rules over a number of years by Venezuela and has proved unwilling to stop diamonds fuelling corruption and violence in Zimbabwe.

It has become an accomplice to diamond laundering — whereby dirty diamonds are mixed in with clean gems.

“Consumers should not buy Marange diamonds, and industry should not supply them.”

Gooch said all existing contracts in the Marange fields should be cancelled and retendered with terms of reference that reflect international best practice on revenue sharing, transparency, oversight by and protection of the affected communities.

It said the diamond industry should be required to demonstrate diamonds it sells were not fuelling abuses — by complying with international standards on mineral supply chain controls, including independent third party audits and regular public disclosure.

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