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News :: Human Rights
BLOOD DIAMOND: The Deadly Price of High Fashion
05 Jan 2007
On December 8th, 2006, Warner Brothers released the action thriller Blood Diamond, and the world was reminded about the illicit African diamond trade. Set in the West African country of Sierra Leone in the 1990’s, the film unfolds a story of diamond smuggling with a backdrop of child soldiers, brutal amputations, and countless senseless deaths.
The diamond-fueled mayhem that occurred in Sierra Leone is only a glimpse of the death and destruction that has ravaged West Africa since the 1990’s. Over 3.7 million people have died in diamond-related conflicts. And the number is climbing.
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In 2003, the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) came into force to control and monitor the diamond trade. Under the KPCS, participating governments certify diamonds as originating from a conflict-free source. Parallel to the KPCS, the diamond industry polices itself using a warranty system tracking diamonds from mines all the way to retail stores. Though the KPCS and warranty systems are a step forward, flaws in the system and its implementation allow blood diamonds to continue to enter the legitimate trade. In 2005, the UN discovered diamonds are still funding conflict in Ivory Coast. Research by Global Witness and Amnesty International in 2004 revealed that conflict-free warranties are rarely available with diamond purchases, and in 2006 that some conflict diamonds are certified as conflict-free. Human rights advocates are pressing the diamond industry and KPCS to strengthen controls and develop a comprehensive tracking system to ensure that diamonds are not fueling conflict.
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You can send a letter to the World Diamond Council expressing your concerns by going <a href="http://action.globalexchange.org/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=6206&t=Action;>here.</a>
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For more information about conflict diamonds go to <a href="http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/conflictdiamonds/";>GlobalExchange.org</a>

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