Blood diamonds are forever

Blood diamonds are forever At amnesty we think some campaigns are going to be easier than others. When the people suffering human rights abuses are in a far-flung place with little connection to Britain, when the reason they are at risk is hard to explain, when they’re not likely to be perceived as clearcut victims of a wrong, we know it’ll be a hard one to communicate.

 But frankly, when you’ve got a consumer item as bling as diamonds, and reports and images that show conclusively that the trade in ‘blood diamonds’ is real but that it can be stopped if consumers change their habits, then we like to think we could be on a winner.

Years of work by people in diamond-producing countries, by victims of human rights abuses related to the trade in so-called blood diamonds, and by NGOs including Amnesty, finally lead to the Kimberley Process being set up in 2003, a scheme designed to control the diamond trade so that bloody rocks couldn’t get into the legal trade. We sit back a little, we think it’s happening.

So terrible news that one of Kimberley’s key architects has left the scheme in disgust, saying it’s “letting all manner of crooks off the hook.” It’s appalling to see a system which governments, NGOs and the diamond industry all came together to implement, get to the brink of collapse because of what looks like a lack of political will to enforce it properly. Global Witness are among the experts on this and they are down-hearted.

 Human Rights Watch have produced a report today which substantiates the concerns about bloody Zimbabwean diamonds – which are evading the Kimberley rules because they are technically ‘state diamonds’.

Heart-breaking. Reminds us that even when you’ve lobbied for a system like Kimberley you’ve got to keep lobbying to make it work. Like diamonds – the campaign has to be kept up forever…

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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