November 16, 2018
The Kimberley Process (KP) Civil Society Coalition (CSC) pushed hard for reform in the 2018 KP Brussels Plenary, with very concrete proposals, amongst others on changing the definition of conflict diamonds beyond the limited and outdated scope of rough diamonds financing rebel movements.
The CSC, together with industry (World Diamond Council) and Canada made a realistic proposal for a wider definition of conflict diamonds. This strong joint call to urgently adapt the KP to crucial concerns such as systematic and widespread violence, forced labour, the worst forms of child labour, violations of International Humanitarian Law and illicit financing of private and public security forcesmet with great resistance of other participating states (“Participants”) at the KP plenary. Despite the commitment to reform expressed by the 2017 Brisbane Plenary, hours were lost on discussing whether the KP should be discussing these essential issues. Exchanges on substance were consistently and deliberately blocked by a number of Participants. After much difficulty, the Plenary managed to find agreement in acknowledging that proposals were on the table and will be considered by Participants, that are moreover invited to bring more elements to the discussion.
The Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition urges all participating states to engage in this discussion of scope of the Kimberley Process sooner rather than later. “This will first and foremost be beneficial to mining affected communities who count the costs of violence, human rights violations and environmental degradation, while they should be reaping the benefits from their mineral wealth.”, says Shamiso Mtisi, Chair of the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition.
“The resisting participants will find themselves on the wrong side of history. If not inspired by their obligations to protect human rights of the mining communities in their countries, they should at least respond to the threat of synthetic diamonds to producer country economies, and to consumers’ calls to buy responsibly sourced diamonds. If the KP does not consider the ethical, human rights and environmental impact of mining, then natural diamonds will lose their market and the economies of diamond producing countries will be badly affected.”
The KP Civil Society Coalition acknowledges progress on transparency of data. Confidence in the KP is at stake because confidentiality stifles transparency and accountability of the diamond industry. Useful and credible data on rough diamond production and exports must be publicly disclosed. “Against this background, we appreciate the decision to disaggregate the public statistics on the KP website by industrial production, on the one hand, and artisanal and small-scale production, on the other”, says Shamiso Mtisi. “In furtherance of expanding the frontiers of transparency and accountability within the KP, we request that rough diamond data also be disaggregated to track or reflect gem, semi-precious and industrial rough diamonds.”