(IDEX Online) – The World Diamond Council (WDC) and the Civil Society Coalition (CSC) voiced their strong support for an expanded definition of conflict diamonds at the Plenary Session of the Kimberley Process (KP) in Brussels. <?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
The proposal, put forward by the government of Canada, looks to strengthen the scope by expanding the KP’s official definition of what constitutes conflict diamonds.
The proposed change would expand the scope beyond rough stones that finance wars against governments and supports the industry’s drive in protecting consumer confidence in diamonds and the value chain, as reflected by the System of Warranties (SoW) reforms recently launched by the WDC. The reforms require all industry participants to respect human rights in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, as well as encourages stronger industry understanding about the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Due Diligence Guidance.
More specifically, the proposal would expand the definition to include “rough diamonds used by public security forces or private (including criminal or mercenary) armed groups to acquire wealth through the illegal control, bribery, taxation, extortion or dispossession of people.” It would also include rough diamonds “acquired through systematic and widespread violence, forced labor, the worst forms of child labor, or through violations of international humanitarian law.”
The WDC also voiced its support for a declaration of principles for responsibly sourced diamonds proposed by the United States government, covering human rights, community development, health and labor standards, environmental impacts, and the combating of corruption, terrorism and organized crime. Such a statement, which recognizes and builds on standards and commitments that...