Global Witness Quits Kimberley Process

Posted December 5th, 2011 at 9:25 am (UTC-5)
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Rights group Global Witness has quit the Kimberley Process, saying the program designed to stop the flow of so-called “blood diamonds” has failed.

A founding director of Global Witness, Charmian Gooch, said Monday that after nearly nine years, consumers still cannot be sure where their diamonds came from and whether they helped finance armed violence or abusive regimes.

Global Witness says non-profit groups have worked intensively with the Kimberley Process to close loopholes and flaws in the scheme. But it said governments involved in the Kimberly Process “show no interest in reform.”

The group cited the program's failure to tackle the trade of conflict diamonds from Ivory Coast, blatant rules breaches by Venezuela and the flow of controversial diamonds from Zimbabwe.

Earlier this year, the Kimberley Process approved the sale of diamonds from Zimbabwe's Marange fields

Exports from the area had been blocked after Zimbabwe's military took over the field in 2008. Rights groups accused soldiers there of beating, torturing and killing independent miners. Zimbabwe has denied those claims.

The Kimberley Process was established in 2003 to help ensure that so-called conflict diamonds do not enter the international market.

Global Witnesses played a key role in its formation and has been an official observer of the Kimberly Process since it was formed.