CAR violence: Tragedy beneath the diamond sparkle

Central African Republic is a landlocked country in Central Africa, bordered by Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon but within its borders there is no stable regime. The country is home to 4.5 million people and thousands of peacekeepers.

 

Although the country is split along religious factions, the main fuel behind the conflict is Diamond and Gold mines in the area. A mine owned by Canada’s Axmin was overrun by the mainly Seleka rebels more than a year ago. It now forms part of an illicit economy driving sectarian conflict. Rebels control the mines and thousands of people have died and a million have lost their home in the war to gain a share of the deposits.

 

Diamonds and gold from these mines is carried past the rebel area and slowly makes its way into the open market. Commanders of the factions profit from the conflict. Diamonds, as rightly marketed, are forever, hence rebel groups can hold on to their stockpile, waiting for the regulations like Kimberley Process to alter and demand for diamonds to rise. Few countries are trying to enforce a traceability scheme to show diamonds are not mined in rebel territory. Until these schemes are made foolproof one can never be 100% sure that beneath the sparkle there isn’t a tragedy of modern times.

 

1 COMMENT

  1. CAR is just one case. Several african countries face the same issue of Blood Diamonds, though many have cleverly been able to veil that through series of inter-trades. KP is just an impotent tool to address any real problems.

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