Image is courtesy of: qthomasbower.
Many experts have claimed that the illegal mining and distribution of diamonds in Africa has been funding violent conflicts (typically with guerrilla warfare and various governments’ military getting involved) throughout Africa, with sums totaling into the billions of dollars (USA standard). In fact, Al Qaeda, one of this world’s most notorious and violent terrorist organizations, is known to have made millions of dollars from the sale of diamonds mined illegally by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone. The motivation for many of the warlords behind the violence against the African governments is primarily for control over the region’s extremely profitable diamond industry. The above image is that of a diamond originating in Africa, although it is not fair to say that all diamonds mined from Africa are the result of bloodshed, many people find themselves avoiding the purchase of them just to be safe as a means of boycotting the conflicts and bringing down the value of such diamonds, with the objective being to render the operations no longer profitable and therefore worthless to continue. Sometimes nonviolent and passive resistance is far more efficient than deadly force. While quartz is a great deal more common to be found throughout the Earth than a diamond.
But now let’s bring our focus back to Sierra Leone, the place of origin for the Revolutionary United Front, which has threatened, mutilated, or killed many people that live around or have access to diamond mining operations, with the objective being control and profit of these operations. The group went about marauding and carving a swath around the nation, taking control of as many diamond mining operations as they possibly could. The recent statistics have stated that tens of thousands of people have been mutilated, nearly a hundred thousand have been killed and more than two million people have had to flee the country entirely.
Image is courtesy of: Cliff.
Throughout the 1990’s the global community of human rights organizations began publicizing these events of genocide to the front of many news headlines. The creation of a program as a joint venture between the diamond industry and the United Nations was formed, and titled Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KCPS). Regulation of the trade and sale of diamonds is the key focus of the KCPS, essentially trying to keep all the violence over these valuable jewels to a minimum, if not to dissolve them all entirely. There are dozens of nations that are involved with KCPS and it is still an active program currently, with all the nations involved doing their utmost to have any shipments containing diamonds to have very specific combinations of numbers and certifications from governments that then guarantee that the goods within the container do not have any illicit diamonds.
Clearly there has been progress, but more could be done to dismantle these criminal organizations and guarantee the safety of the innocent people that pay the price for their presence. Feel free to check out the following link for more information on mining in Africa.