Posted in News, Conflict-Free Diamonds by Admin on January 22nd, 2007
Some Jewelers have sought to bypass human rights concerns by selling only Canadian diamonds. But both the industry and campaigners say this could hurt some of the world’s poorest people. Only a single Canadian diamond manufacturer can actually prove that their diamonds are not conflict diamonds. The rest adhere to an “honor system” known as the Canadian Diamond Code of Conduct, but this is not a regulated system and the possibility of corruption exists as much as anywhere else in North America. Despite the Canadian companies using “conflict free” as an adopted national marketing slogan, there are very few safe guards to ensure that diamond rough polished in Canada has not been “smuggled” in from conflict zones. Think about it. What would be easier? Selling smuggled rough material in South Africa to legitimate sources or selling rough material in Canada to legitimate sources. The perception is that the Canadian diamond industry “doesn’t need to worry about the Kimberley Process” because diamonds from Canada do not fund conflict. Buying Canadian does not necessarily mean that the diamonds are 100% “clean.”
- Diamonds “from” Canada could be a byproduct of smuggled diamond rough.
- Canadian diamonds do nothing to help the poorest countries in Africa.
Purchasing diamonds only from Canada can actually hurt the people who need help the most. In countries such as Botswana and South Africa, diamond revenues have paid for schools, roads and clinics. Instead of boycotting diamonds altogether, consumers are being urged to ask retailers whether their diamonds are conflict-free. Alex Yearsley of Global Witness, whose campaigns focus on the corrupt exploitation of natural resources, said: “Consumers have the power to effect industry-wide changes simply by demanding that their diamonds are clean.”
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