When it comes to buying diamonds, one of the most important things you can do is ask about their source. Here we will go over the basics around conflict stones.
Understanding the Kimberley Process
The Kimberley Process is an international system put in place to prevent the trade of diamonds that fund conflicts and rebel movements. Established in 2003, the Kimberley Process has been effective at reducing the trade of conflict diamonds by requiring the 75-member nations to set up import and export control systems for rough diamonds. However, since the Kimberley Process focuses primarily on rough diamonds used by rebel movements, critics charge that it does not address the broader range of risks to human rights posed by the diamond trade in countries like Zimbabwe. Enforcement has also been a problem. Despite an embargo placed on the diamond trade in the Central African Republic (CAR), conflict diamonds also continue to reach international markets. Despite these shortcomings, the Kimberley Process remains an important and effective means for restricting the trade of conflict diamonds.
Canada is a top-source for ethically-mined diamonds and other gemstones. Diamonds mined in Canada’s Northwest Territories are mined in compliance with strict labor and environmental laws. The Canadian government works closely with local indigenous communities to care for the protected Arctic environment. In Africa, mining operations in Namibia and Botswana meet strict labor laws and environmental protections also not found in other African countries. Watch out for diamonds sourced in Zimbabwe, Angola and Cote d’Ivoire, three countries where the diamond trade is well documented for fueling lengthy civil conflicts.
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