Blooddiamonds, also known as ‘conflict diamonds,` are the diamonds thatare found in the illicit trade and are usually used to providefunding for armed uprisings, especially in the underdeveloped Africancountries. The United Nations define blood diamonds as, “diamondgems that are sourced from localities that are under the rule ofrebel forces that are usually working against legitimate governments,and these diamonds are then used to provide capital support for therebels.” These rebels usually start by attacking and terrorizingvillages that are located near these diamond mines. Once they havestruck enough fear into the people, they usually take over and startcontrolling the mines. By this time, various of the residents haveusually fled, and the unlucky ones who got captured are subjected toforced labor in the mineral extraction. The diamonds that are minedare then smuggled abroad where unscrupulous jewelers buy them andclean the diamonds. The money obtained s then transferred back to thearmed forces that in turn use the capital to buy more weapons. Theythen progress to the next village and further propagate violence,fear, and terror. This system goes on until these rebels get tocontrol a vast area of the affected country (Orogun, 2004). This wasthe exact plot of events that took place in Sierra Leone, back in the1990s. These blood diamonds usually bring a lot of misery and damageto any country. Loss of innocent lives, displacement of people,injuries, and starvation, are usually some of the fallbacks thatoccur once the blood diamond cartels are in full operation. Thecountry’s economy usually plummets as all sectors of the economyfrom tourism agriculture and manufacturing dismally fail to make anyimpact under such conditions. This was the case in Sierra Leone whereover 75, 000 people lost their lives while millions of others weredisplaced. It was not until 2002 that peace was finally attained inthe country, and a legitimate democratic government was voted in.Currently, Sierra Leone is still trying to heal from the devastatingeffects of the blood diamonds that led to a civil war that lastedover a decade.
TheSierra Leone’s wanton carnage brought to attention the devastatingeffects of blood diamonds to any country (Bieri, 2013). This led tothe United Nations, NGOs such as Global Witness and severalgovernments came together and focused on finding ways to hinder blooddiamonds from getting into the legal diamond market. This was to bedone to cut off the financing of the armed rebels through this plan.Thus, a process called the Kimberley Process was implemented. Thisprocess worked on the basis that diamonds that were being exportedwere to be enclosed in sealed containers each having specific serialnumbers. The diamonds were also to be accompanied by a KimberlyProcess certificate, which was used to authenticate the legitimacy ofthese diamonds. The governments that are involved in the exportationand importation of these diamonds were responsible for ensuring thatthese certificates were not forged or tampered with in any way. Awritten affidavit was also included which declared that the encloseddiamonds were not from any areas of armed conflict. This statement iswhat is termed as the System of Warranties (Bieri, 2013). In the year2000, all the members of the United Nations sat down to discuss thisKimberly Process. The vote was unanimous for its implementation andall countries that were involved pledged to support the process. Thisled to a drastic reduction of the blood diamonds in the market.Currently, less than 1% of diamonds in the market are from conflictareas such as DRC Congo and Zimbabwe.
Asthe blood diamonds are slowly being eradicated from the market,slowly peace will be found in the African countries that are stillaffected. Diamonds, when exported for legitimate interests, canhighly benefit a country. An example is Botswana, which started asone of the poorest countries in the world but is currently among thefastest growing economy. Botswana owes all this to diamond export(Basedau & Mehler, 2005).
Basedau,M., & Mehler, A. (2005). Resource Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa(Vol. 14). GIGA-Hamburg.
Bieri,F. (2013). From Blood Diamonds to the Kimberly Process: How NGOsCleaned Up the Global Diamond Industry. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd..
Orogun,P. (2004). “Blood Diamonds” and Africa’s Armed Conflicts in thePost-Cold War Era. World Affairs, 151-161.