Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) has been misused to make consumers believe that conflict diamonds have been virtually banished. The definition of conflict diamonds stated by KPCS is a narrow one. It only states them as “rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments”. It does not include the effects on other human rights violations, social and environmental abuses.
In the recent past, various organisations, industry experts and journalists have pointed out the ineffectiveness of KPCS. Global Witness, who played a key role in setting up the KPCS in 2003, resigned as an official observer in 2011 owing to the persistent and unresolved concerns.
Recently, at the Kimberly Process (KP) plenary event that took place in Brisbane, Australia from December 9 to 14, IMPACT formerly known as ‘Partnership Africa Canada’ moved out of the KPCS. The non-profit organisation finds the scheme ineffective in controlling the diamond supply chain.
In 2016, when the civil society boycotted the KP chair – United Arab Emirates, because of their negligent trading practices, which allowed conflict diamonds to enter the diamond supply chain, IMPACT called for major reforms to bring sincerity back to the scheme. Though there were extensive evaluations, KP hardly made any progress on any of the reforms.
In a report ‘False Consumer Confidence in Diamonds: Decline of Credibility in the Kimberley Process’, IMPACT explains in detail how the Kimberley Process is failing to stand up to its basic objective. It has failed to evolve and take into consideration new challenges. It has also blocked the adoption of a new and refined definition due to the need of consensus. KP has a requirement of 100% consensus on all decisions, resulting into no disciplinary action being taken even in the most obvious cases.
“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. This stops now.” said Joanne Lebert, IMPACT’s Executive Director.
However, IMPACT would continue to work with KP members who are genuinely working to end the trade of conflict diamonds. It would also continue to support countries to end illegal trade of conflict diamonds as well as with the KP Civil Society coalition members for the proper implementation of internal controls of diamonds as well as other conflict-prone minerals.