Why Kimberley Process is Not Working
Apart from the scope of corruption and misadministration that always remain a potential issue will all policies, the KPCS is ridden with two fundamental flaws that make it ineffective.
The First Issue
The first issue with the KPCS is the definition of what a CONFLICT DIAMOND is. As stated in earlier section, the KPCS came into existence when the militias were in control of the diamond mines and exploiting it to the core in order to fund their own agendas and buy weapons. So, according to the KPCS, a conflict diamond is that diamond that funds the militias.
Unfortunately, the magnanimity of wrongs in the diamond industry is such, that if we apply such a narrow definition, then it will be of no use.
For example, diamonds coming from Zimbabwe, the country famous for killing and exploiting the mine workers, are CONFLICT FREE as per KPCS.
Besides, the KPCS does not talk about the rampant slavery and forced labour, high risk and inhumane working conditions of the miners, child labour and the massive impact on the environemnt from the diamonds. People are risking their lives for as low as $1 a day and children as young as 9 are employed in precarious mining, yet KPCS does not take that into consideration
The Second Issue
Secondly, the KPCS is not applicable to single stones, but to a bunch of stones. This means, that when it comes to tracking the individual stone, there is no system in place. At the maximum, one can only know about the batch from which the diamond has come from, but it is impossible to trace even the country of origin of the diamond, forget about the mined from which it has been extracted.
This big loophole makes it all the more easy for individual stones to be mixed into the batch of good stones, making the KPCS all the more ineffective and inefficient in dealing with the menace of conflict diamonds.
THE CURRENT REALITY OF KPCS
Despite being in place for nearly two decades, the KPCS has been inefficient in making the diamonds CONFLICT-FREE. Still today, a large number of diamonds reaching the market do not come through legal diamond trade. According to a shocking report by Bain and Company, around 65% of the world’s diamonds come from Africa. Taking into account that only 25% of the mines in Africa are regulated, this makes a whopping 75% of the diamond mines will be marred with all sorts of abuses, be it humanitarian, animal and even environmental.
One of the most shocking statements that revealed the ineffectiveness of the KPCS came from IMPACT. It was IMPACT’s research that first highlighted the link between diamonds and conflict financing and because of its endeavours to end the trade of conflict diamonds, IMPACT was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. But a few years back, IMPACT announced leaving KPCS and its Executive Director, Joanne Lebert made the following statement.
“Consumers are being sold something that is not real…The Kimberley Process—and its Certificate—has lost its legitimacy. The internal controls that governments conform to do not provide the evidence of traceability and due diligence needed to ensure a clean, conflict-free, and legal diamond supply chain. Consumers have been given a false confidence about where their diamonds come from.”
A similar statement was made by the Founding Direction of Global Witness, a key member of the KPCS since its inception. Back in 2011, Charmian Gooch said,
“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… Consumers have a right to know what they’re buying, and what was done to obtain it… The diamond industry must finally take responsibility for its supply chains and prove that the stones it sells are clean.”
All these facts, leave no room for doubt and makes it crystal clear that KIMBERLEY CERTIFICATE IS NOT WORKING.
IT WAS A GOOD INTENTION, TO SAY THE LEAST, BUT ON THE GROUND IT IS SIMPLY NOT WORKING.