What are conflict diamonds?
Conflict diamonds, also known as ‘blood diamonds’, are diamonds that are mined illegally and sold to fuel wars in Africa.
Five years ago, World Vision and other humanitarian organisations urged diamond wholesalers and retailers to stop the sale of conflict diamonds. However, despite legislation and promises from the global diamond industry, diamond companies still don’t do enough to prevent the stones from being used to purchase weapons, fuel wares and create havoc in countries where most people live on less that $1 a day.
“Diamonds are a $60 billion a year business, and even if only one percent of the retail market includes gems that fuel conflict in African nations, that’s $600 million worth of cheap assault rifles and rocket launchers killing thousands of people every year”
World Vision’s response
Mindful of not damaging the legitimate diamond industry in countries like South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, World Vision is not calling for a diamond boycott. Instead, we are asking consumers to pressure the industry where they will feel it most: at the jewellers and in government.
World Vision is calling on consumers to ask their jeweller about the ‘5 Cs’ in diamond buying – colour, carat, cut, clarity and conflict. Retailers should be expected to certify that their diamonds are not funding conflict, and if they can’t consumers should go elsewhere. According to a 2004 study by Amnesty International and Global Witness, 58 percent of diamond retailers in the US and UK had no policy on conflict diamonds.
We also urge people to contact their MPs and ask why more is not being done to prevent the import of conflict diamonds.