U.S. Watchdog Urges Tighter Rein on Conflict Gems
Kimberly Process [Macromedia Flash Player]
Making It Work: Why The Kimberly Process Must Do More to Stop Conflict Diamonds [pdf]
History of Diamonds [QuickTime, Windows Media Player]
Crater of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas
Decades before the DeBeers company created the “A diamond is forever” marketing slogan, diamonds had become the premier precious stone of choice for many engagement rings. In the past few years, diamonds mined in a variety of countries in West Africa have acquired a rather dramatic sobriquet: “conflict diamonds”. The word “conflict” is specifically meant to refer those diamonds that have been smuggled and sold on the international market in order to fund various wars in countries including Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Angola. This week a number of news organizations reported that diamonds from the Ivory Coast are still being sold on the international market, which is an explicit breach of an international ban that went into effect a year ago. On a broader scale, the country is also subject to the innovative requirements of the Kimberly Process, which was started in 2002, and which was also meant to prevent the sale of such “conflict diamonds”. Members of the United Nations’ Security Council remain optimistic about monitoring the situation, but oversight in this area of international trade remains difficult.
The first link will take users to a news article from this Tuesday’s BBC News Online that reports on the revelation that Ivorian diamonds are still available on the international market. Moving along, the second link leads to a news article by Emad Mekay that reports on a recent paper from the U.S. Government Accountability Office that suggests that the United States should adopt stronger oversight measures in order to determine the origins of various diamonds. The third link will lead users to the site that provides detailed information about the Kimberly Process. The fourth link leads to a fascinating 51-page report from the Global Witness organization that provides information about the current shortcomings of the Kimberly Process, and how its scope of operations might be improved over the short and long term. The fifth link will take users away to a very engrossing video introduction to the history of diamonds, proffered by the Natural History Museum’s Andy Fleet. During this presentation, visitors will learn about the aesthetic and utility value placed on these gems. Interested diamond prospectors and rock-hounds will be delighted to learn about the final site, which is the virtual home of the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. For those not in the know already, this park is the only site in the world where any one can just come, search, and keep any diamonds they might uncover.
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