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Human Rights Watch and the Kimberley Process

Human Rights Watch supports civil society efforts to reform the Kimberley Process. The process has been criticized for institutional failures, including lack of independent monitoring and few sanctions for violations. Decisions are often reached by consensus. There is little room for critical analysis or accountability in the process. And it is difficult to ensure that companies are meeting its standards.

Lab-grown diamonds are a far cheaper and more eco-friendly alternative to mined diamonds. The mining process for diamonds is a significant contributor to global warming. Furthermore, lab grown diamonds are cheaper by about 25 to 40 percent, and are more ethical.

Participants in the Kimberley Process

The Kimberley Process is a multilateral trade agreement whose chair rotates annually among participating countries. Past chairs include the European Union, Canada, Botswana, and South Africa. In addition to these countries, there are civil society organizations involved in the process. Kimberley Process participants meet at least twice a year to monitor progress and share information. They also share annual reports and statistical data.

The Kimberley Process relies on collaboration between the private and public sectors. While governments administer the process through an annual rotating chairmanship, participation by industry and civil society is also essential for the system to function. The Kimberley Process currently includes 51 Participant governments as well as Observer delegates from various industry coalitions. The World Diamond Council is the industry umbrella group, while the African diamond-producers’ Association is the Kimberley Process’s civil society coalition. Decisions are made through a consensus among all Participants.

The Kimberley Process aims to ensure that conflict diamonds do not enter legitimate trade. By setting minimum standards for national certification schemes, it supports UN Security Council sanctions.

Criteria for obtaining a licence

Applicants for a licence should notify the Chair by diplomatic channels of their intent to participate in the Certification Scheme. The notification must include information referred to in Section V. It should also be circulated to all other Participants within a month. Participants should seek to invite representatives of civil society, the diamond industry, and non-participating governments to plenary meetings. If a participant has any questions or concerns, they should contact the Chair.

The Kimberley Process is a global initiative. It brings together diamond producing countries and civil society organizations to prevent the trade in conflict diamonds. It is intended to prevent the financing of armed conflict through the sale of conflict diamonds, and improve lives and communities worldwide.

There are three tiers of certification for diamonds. A Kimberley Process certificate must be accompanied by an authentic KP certificate. The certificate must be valid for at least three years, depending on the issuing country. Moreover, the Union authority must retain the original certificate submitted for verification for at least three years.

Requirements of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is a voluntary system for diamond trading that combines a state-led control regime and an industry-led certification system. It was negotiated rapidly by the diamond industry and participating states, and was able to accomplish its goals largely due to the concentrated nature of the diamond industry and complementary emerging norms. However, it does not fully address the problems posed by conflict-affected countries and the weak governance of national governments.

The Kimberley Process relies on a unique collaboration between government officials, industry leaders, and civil society organizations. Its participants include 51 Participating governments, Observer delegates from an industry umbrella group, and African diamond-producing countries. Decisions are made through consensus among the Participants.

Certification is based on the Kimberley Process standards and procedures. Kimberley Certificates accompany rough diamonds only, not polished or cut gemstones. In addition, they must contain the minimum elements required under Annex I of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

Opposition of NGOs to the Kimberley Process

Opposition to the Kimberley Process is growing among non-governmental organizations. They claim that the process’s weak points include over-reliance on state sovereignty and the fact that participant countries are not obligated to follow its rules. In addition, the process’s adherence to national legislation is not enforceable and its authorities cannot send peacekeeping forces to non-compliant countries.

The NGOs have made their stance known during recent months. Global Witness, which was one of the founding NGOs in the Kimberley Process, left the initiative after two months. Its move came after another major supporter, Ian Smillie, defected two years ago.

Conclusion

The Kimberley Process, which is supposed to prevent conflict diamonds, has been criticised for its handling of diamonds from Zimbabwe. The process is supposed to prevent diamonds from being mined in violation of human rights. However, the process’ definition of conflict diamonds excludes diamonds from mines operated by rebel groups. This does nothing to address the problem of violent tyranny.

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