A note on the Kimberley Process and human rights

When the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was being developed, it was understood that violence in or around the production of diamonds had to be stopped. Laws already existed to deal with smuggling, theft and armed insurrection, but it was understood that more pointed regulations were required to ensure that diamonds played no part in fuelling war.

The definition of ‘conflict diamonds’ at the time centred on the use of diamonds by rebel armies for the purchase of weapons. Since then, other forms of violence and human rights abuse have appeared in connection with diamond mining and production: forced labour, unlawful removals, detention and violence, child labour. Attempts to add to the definition of conflict diamonds, however, have been frustrated within the Kimberley Process, leading to major internal divisions and to a serious devaluation of its reputation and credibility among consumers and in the world’s media.

DDI strongly believes that a clear application of core human rights standards throughout the rough diamond pipeline can and should become an essential part of the Kimberley Process mandate and identity. Continued resistance hurts KP effectiveness and credibility, and this reflects in increasingly negative ways on the diamond industry at large.

In all of our projects, DDI works towards fair wages, safe working conditions, gender equity and an end to child labour. We have a zero tolerance policy towards any form of discrimination, coercion or violence. These values are enshrined in the laws of most countries and in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but where the broader diamond industry is concerned, we believe that it is no longer good enough for the Kimberley Process to leave these issues to ‘others’.