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The Kimberley Process and the Chinese - New Article

Xanthoria

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 7, 2011
Messages
45
Hah! Well unless Whole Foods are out and out liars, and I'm not saying they're not, it's unlikely my carrots have blood on their roots, so to speak. :lol: I pay more for my carrots, but I know they're from local farms with a good reputation: I drive past the farms often.

Kidding aside, we all know that the sale of diamonds has been used to finance armed groups across Africa fuelling a series of wars in which over 4 million people have been killed and many more displaced, raped or brutalised. Not to mention the thousands of children currently working in awful conditions and virtually or actually enslaved in the diamond industry all over Africa and India, etc.

Again, we are not comparing apples to apples here - carrot farming isn't used as the main tool to fuel war. Carrots just ain't that valuable. Even if those pecentages you quote represent a fraction of the people involved in the diamond industry, the crimes are too heinous to be worth it in my book.

Anyway I will be on the lookout for "Blood Carrot" the movie, and if it comes to pass I'll have to stick with potatoes... :lickout:
 

denverappraiser

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Messages
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Again, I'm not defending abuses here. I"m just trying to keep perspective. Most wars are about money, and diamonds are money. That's why the bad guys want to steal them. That doesn't make diamonds or the diamond business evil. The same thing happens with oil, lumber, and even the 'free' medicines we drop out of airplanes into disease prone places. Criminals can and do enlist/enslave the locals to collect the care packages and then resell the contents on the black market. To the best of my knowledge there's never been a war over care packages but there certainly have been over oil, gold and other things and I"m quite confident there have been murders, rapes and all manner of other abuses over the aid packages. That's a travesty to be sure but it doesn't make the drug company and the charity compllicit.
 

Regular Guy

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I'd just like to share a note of appreciation to both Neil and Xanthoria, who I think have both spoken meaningfully on this important topic.

I'm not sure I either think or behave entirely rationally in this area. No one likes to pay a premium for things when it is unnecessary to do so. The question becomes...when is it appropriate and necessary.

I haven't frequently shopped at whole foods, and for thanksgiving, having seen their premium prices for free range, etc., turkeys, did elect to go to Giant instead.

Really, everything is elective, by nature. Maybe food is less elective, but the differences on these things are all by the margin.

I don't think anyone's execution is perfect on these things. Brilliant Earth, g-d love them, don't provide certs on line, but maybe you can ask for them. I don't think they speak reflector images, which are suggested in a primary way on this board.

Rapaport does speak with a clear voice in this area. Xanthroia, if you are not familiar with his work, you can see it in some measure here:

http://www.diamonds.net/fairtrade/

But, today, he does not offer options. Hopefully, more options, and ones that are regarded easily as affordable will come available. In the meantime, I think if we are to shop diamonds in the current market, I think it is at least best done with some of the perspective Neil has sought to share here. Certainly, it is important to understand that a Kimberly assurance alone is not on its face something to warm the cockles of your heart.


Ira Z.
 

yialanliu

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Joined
Dec 4, 2011
Messages
23
As a Chinese American, I understand the importance of human rights to many people especially in the west.

However, I also want to point out that not all UN members believe in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that using KP to push human rights is not right. This is due to the fact that the UNDP is also not binding which is fortunately, a good thing due to the chaos it would cause if it did become binding politically.

While personally, I believe in human rights, I also believe in giving countries the right to choose how to govern(soverignty). Countries signed onto these resolutions taking into consideration how much soveignty must be exchanged for the benefit. If the exchange is too great, then they won't sign it. Thus, the UNDP is a nonbinding resolution. Even so, the UNDP has met strong criticism from some nations including competing Human Rights Declaration such as the Cairo version.

KP shouldn't be used to further an agenda that not even the UNDP can mandate. If this is something that truly needs to be changed, it deserves its own resolution rather than be tacked on. Human rights is not something that can just be added. To make it work, it needs its own topic and human rights should be discussed within its own framework rather than under the KP.

PS: China helped author the UNDP, just trying to remain global. This viewpoint isn't just from someone who is Chinese or American, but rather trying to voice the minority here who don't use Pricescope since let's be honest, most people using this forum are not from those countries so the arguments can be one sided.
 

Karl_K

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Garry H (Cut Nut)|1331029140|3141666 said:
Dear yialanliu,
Thanks so much for sharing that perspective.
It is very easy from an arm chair to assume ones own rules are universal.
I agree thank you, however.
While I don't have the right to tell another country or even another person how they have to live (in my opinion there is way to much of that going on already aka government intrusion in peoples lives) I do have the right to demand anyone I do business with acts in certain ways.
I will vote with my wallet.
I also have the right to demand information if they want my money.
They point to Kimberly in reply to my questions.
That gives me an interest in what they are doing and how well the are doing it and the right to question it.
Regulation of trade goods and services entering into a country is a legitimate function of government as is me requesting they block goods and services that harm others.
Kimberly is politics and like all political monsters it has grown bloated and inefficient.
There are no easy answers.
 

coati

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Marange Diamonds: A Game Changer?

http://www.businessinsider.com/marange-diamonds-a-game-changer-2012-3

Marange diamonds could be a game changer for Zimbabwe and for the diamond industry. In a nation desperate for revenue and investment, diamonds could equate to an important economic solution. For the diamond industry, which is seeing a growing demand for low-quality small diamonds, the supply from Zimbabwe could mean stiff competition. But, the outcome largely depends on the government.
 

Regular Guy

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A small bit of good news, which is always welcome:

"The calls for greater transparency by the Kimberley Process were heard. A wealth of decisions, background information, data about the working groups and more are now available on the KP website."

See the updated website here:

http://www.kimberleyprocess.com/

...and the article providing a little more background, here:

http://www.idexonline.com/portal_FullNews.asp?id=36537

Cheers,

Ira Z.
 

Regular Guy

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Well, it seems that incrementally, under it's new leadership, changing year to year, the Kimberly Process is coming forward.

Reported by Reuters:

In its review of what makes a "conflict" diamond, Milovanovic said the KP should study the use of broad, founding definitions by organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross, and apply the lessons from Zimbabwe.

She added that the Marange case would not necessarily be reviewed.

"What we would like to see is in essence that there be a clear agreed understanding amongst the membership that conflict is something more than only a rebel group seeking to overthrow a legitimate government," she said.

See here:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/28/us-mining-summit-kimberley-idUSBRE82R19520120328

Best,

Ira Z.
 

innerkitten

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Aug 1, 2003
Messages
5,623
I'm just a consumer and I don't know much about diamond mining. But I do want the diamonds I buy to be conflict free. For me as a consumer it is a big deal and I don't think the system in place in perfect.

I have three rings with diamonds as center stones in them and they are all second hand diamonds.
 

Regular Guy

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There's always a bigger fish.

Wasn't that the line used in one of the Star Wars movies, after the good guys were being chased by a pretty big fish, who ended up being eaten by a yet bigger fish.

I've scanned through the many posts in this thread, and I understand that no one yet, in this set of posts, has chosen to compare the use of Kimberly in the purchase of diamonds to how workers are being treated in other industries.

But, I read today how the particular wisdom and application of Kimberly may be being applied...to a good purpose...to other industries.

And, as we may read how Apple and others lately are creating cool gadgets, perhaps on the back of others in distress...that is only good to know.

Read here:

http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/25/opinion/lopez-sanctions-tech/index.html

where it says:

To end the "blood" dimension and to bring an end to the costly sanctions, the diamond merchants in Europe joined with various governments and civil society actors in an effort to regulate the diamond trade. Through a process of certifying that diamonds mined and traded legally were not contributing to bloody conflict, this arrangement, now known as the Kimberley Process, set a standard that can be adapted by the technology and communications industries which may feel under fire from this new executive order.

Whether via sanctions or incentives, new U.S. action has the potential to constrain the role of accomplices in perpetrating mass atrocities as never before. It is a welcome policy.
Regards,

Ira Z.
 

Regular Guy

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Messages
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The signs of what would appear to be a tough road ahead for incremental change to Kimberley are showing their head.

Recently, Erika W reminded us that the World Diamond Council, following the new US chair's lead, was suggesting that the definition of what a "conflict" diamond is be conscionably (my word) broadened beyond the calculus of being narrowly associated with moneys going to funding rebel forces.

https://www.pricescope.com/blog/redefining-conflict-diamonds-world-diamond-council-supports-change

However, I read today that this is already not going down well...

http://articles.timesofindia.indiat...ication-scheme-world-diamond-council-kp-chair

...to wit...

"A DTC sightholder, requesting anonymity, said, "If the new definition for conflict diamond is accepted then trading centres like Antwerp, India, Dubai, etc., will have to face a lot of problems, as even a small incident of violence over gems would be enough to declare it conflict gems."


Ira Z.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Messages
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CIBJO (an industry standards org) has come out in support of changes to the KP.
http://congress2012.cibjo.org/

However, as we say down under, "Tell em thar dreamin".
The title of this thread could include several other countries who will veto this.
Easier to start a fresh with a new UN program to sanction products mined under forced labour or duress when the force comes from A SOVEREIGN NATION.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Further to the topic of this thread.

http://www.diamonds.net/news/NewsItem.aspx?tc_dailyemail=1&ArticleID=40151

Zimbabwe's diamond revenue has underperformed this year, raising fears of a ''parallel government in place,'' according to the nation's finance minister, Tendai Biti, who is a member of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.
...............
.........
Biti condemned diamond mining company Anjin for not remitting revenue from the Marange. "There are four major mining companies in Marange. One of these companies, Anjin, has not remitted a single cent to treasury.

Anjin is an opaquely owned Chinese mining company.
 

Regular Guy

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and you thought Garry didn't have more to add....

http://www.jewellermagazine.com/Article.aspx?id=2378&h=Doubts-over-conflict-diamond-definition

(Actually, reading the linked article, initially, I was guessing Garry might have been included as one of those who was asking "not to be identified," but....ummm.....no.)

Thinking further, a digression from this thread...with Canada, and Pricescope, we do with some frequency see those from Canada seeking out Canadian diamonds...in support of their own economy. I wonder if that is seen in Australia, as it might be seen, but based on a casual review on this board, I have not seen this mentioned. Personally, I do favor the suggestion in the linked article from Jim Lehman...

“Customers won’t buy the African diamonds because there could be a conflict, but these people desperately need the money for their diamonds. In Botswana that’s their number one source of income, and it is a beautiful country and a very well run country, but people will say, no we don’t want African diamonds because there could be a conflict, well those conflicts don’t exist, but there is a human rights issue. There is a human rights issue with Saudi Arabia as well, but we still buy their oil, ” Lehman said.

I know Garry is sympathetic concerning this approach, too.

It is not a very easy process...today. My wife thought recently she lost the stone in her engagement ring. I went shopping (and in the end, she found it, so I stopped that process). What I found is that...my earlier alternate source has dried up...Day's Jewelers no longer advertises their connection to "fair trade" sources. I then pursued with Brilliant Earth. They DO offer strategic labelling for sourcing, and you can identify diamonds based on features of weight, color & clarity...along with source of origin, including Botswana, for example. They also offer a cut grade. But, in the 2 times I was moved to ask for assistance in reviewing the presenting diamonds, when the gemologist, via e-mail (she was often not quick, taking perhaps several days to get back, but very nice) got back to me, in 2 instances, the certificates showed diamonds with poor HCA scores...despite their having been labelled "superideal" (and she later essentially described that category representing what GIA I believe calls XXX, including excellent for finish options). And, though I gave her the link to HCA in the first instance, she showed no interest or learning from having been presented that, when presenting me with her second option...not that she necessarily had a lot of options to work with, in my size category.

Anyway, thought I'd share...

Ira Z.
 

Regular Guy

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Messages
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Regular Guy|1337203616|3196773 said:
The signs of what would appear to be a tough road ahead for incremental change to Kimberley are showing their head.

Recently, Erika W reminded us that the World Diamond Council, following the new US chair's lead, was suggesting that the definition of what a "conflict" diamond is be conscionably (my word) broadened beyond the calculus of being narrowly associated with moneys going to funding rebel forces.

https://www.pricescope.com/blog/redefining-conflict-diamonds-world-diamond-council-supports-change

However, I read today that this is already not going down well...

http://articles.timesofindia.indiat...ication-scheme-world-diamond-council-kp-chair

...to wit...

"A DTC sightholder, requesting anonymity, said, "If the new definition for conflict diamond is accepted then trading centres like Antwerp, India, Dubai, etc., will have to face a lot of problems, as even a small incident of violence over gems would be enough to declare it conflict gems."


Ira Z.


So...apparently the Kimberley Process group is assembling a few blocks from me. I read that no official announcement will come forward until this Friday, but the intelligence noted above seems to be on the nose, as reported here:

http://www.newzimbabwe.com/news-8175-Plan+to+redefine+blood+diamonds+rejected/news.aspx

to wit...

On the table were plans by western countries and their NGOs to reform the KP certification scheme to address human rights violations.

But the proposal “hit a brick wall as the idea was rejected by African and Asian members during closed-door discussions by the Working Group on Reform”, according to Sunday Mail editor, Brezhnev Malaba, who is with the Zimbabwe delegation in Washington DC.

Malaba said KP member countries had been sent a questionnaire in advance of the meeting exploring whether the definition of conflict diamonds must be broadened to encompass “human rights” issues, and 75 percent of the respondents had shot down the proposal.


Ira Z.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Global Witness might have read something here on Pricescope?

From http://www.diamonds.net/news/NewsItem.aspx?tc_dailyemail=1&ArticleID=40453
Global Witness called for urgent action to prevent a businessman in China from financing Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe's military regime. According to the group's report published today, ''Financing a Parallel Government?,''

I hate to see diamonds involved in this sort of activity.
I have an inherent belief that GW exaggerate - but there is certainly flames and smoke!
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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VICTORIA FALLS, ZIMBABWE: NOVEMBER 12, 2012 - It is enabling countries like Zimbabwe to use their natural resources to meet the challenges of the future that is the essence of the mission of the Kimberley Process and the World Diamond Council, said Eli Izhakoff, WDC President, in his address to the opening session of the 2012 Zimbabwe Diamond Conference.

The following is the full text of Mr. Izhakoff's, the head of the World Diamond Council and a passionate and active supporter of ethical diamond trade behaviours speech to the 2012 Zimbabwe Diamond Conference:


H.E. Robert Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe; H.E Thabo Mbeki, former President of the Republic of South Africa; H.E. Prof. Arthur Mutambara, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe; H. E. Dr. Obert Mpofu, MInister of Mines and Mining Development of the Republic of Zimbabwe; H.E. Susan Shabangu, Minister of Mineral Resources of the Republic of South Africa; H.E. Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic, Chair of the Kimberley Process; honorable ministers, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:

Over the many years that I have been involved in the public life of diamond business, I have been lucky enough to visit and speak at many venues, some of them in truly spectacular settings. But I can say with confidence that Victoria Falls, just a short way away from here, is the most stunning I have seen, in terms of its raw natural beauty.
I congratulate the conference organizers for their inspired decision to hold this event in this place.

None of us should overlook the symbolic significance of the venue, for it emphasizes the natural wealth that is contained in this corner of the world. Local people call the waterfalls "Mosi-oa-Tunya" - excuse my pronunciation - or "the smoke that thunders," but to the world it is known as Victoria Falls, in honor of the queen that ruled the British Empire when it was discovered by the Scottish explorer David Livingstone in 1855.

Now, I tell you this not to give you a lesson in history or geography, but rather to illustrate that there is frequently a difference between the Western and African perspective. When I was young, we were taught that David Livingstone "discovered" the waterfalls, but, of course, they were well known to local people for centuries. Indeed, I suspect that nobody really knows who first discovered them.

What Livingstone did, of course, was to bring the waterfalls into the Western consciousness, and as was the custom, they were then named to show their association with the British Empire. It was only with the establishment of an independent Zambia in 1964 and then an independent Zimbabwe in 1980 that the length of the waterfall came the full control of Africa's indigenous people.

The continent's diamond resources are similarly associated with its colonial past, but with a fundamental difference. For, while the waterfalls are fixed in place and it is extremely unlikely they will ever be moved and reassembled in another location, the ultimate value of the gem diamond is fixed by the customer in the consumer markets, and those markets, more often than not, are located outside of Africa.

Now do not misunderstand me. I am not contending that the consumer holds absolute or even primary power, because without the diamond being extracted from the earth there is nothing to talk of in the first place.

What I am saying is that, when it comes to natural diamonds, the producer is reliant upon the consumer, just as the consumer is reliant upon the producer. In the diamond pipeline, we are all interconnected and all interdependent.

It is fair say that until the end of last century, we in the diamond industry were not fully aware of this interdependency. The advent of the conflict diamond crisis, and realization that the products we handled were associated with the suffering of innocent people in mining countries, was for many us a rude awakening.

But we were ready to act, and we did by playing what I can confidently state was an imperative role in the establishment of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, to which we added the complementary WDC System of Warranties. And in doing so we worked together with officials of governments from rough diamond mining countries, diamond cutting and trade centers and consumer centers, as well as with representatives of civil society. We did not always agree at first, but we were equally committed to finding solutions.

The dynamic that was created, often late into the night, created a common bond. It also engendered empathy for the other sides' points of view, and a sense of mutual trust. We came to appreciate that, even when we did not see eye to eye, our intentions were true and honest.

What I and my colleagues in the industry came to understand more fully is that, in countries like South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Angola, the DRC, Guinea, Tanzania, Ghana, Lesotho and now Zimbabwe, millions of people regard the diamond not only as the most beautiful and valuable gemstone on the face of this earth, but also an agent to a better life, for them and their children.

We came to realize that the men and women who were seated around table with us saw as their mission the task of securing the economic future of their countries.

It has been said before that most of the world considers the diamond and diamond jewelry to be a luxury and non-essential product. And, while we understand why this is the case, it is not an opinion shared by the men and women involved in the diamond trade and industry. For us, too, the diamond is the source of our livelihood.

It is because the diamond is essential to us that we are so acutely aware of consumer sentiment, and do all that we can to ensure that the natural romance, mystery and legacy of the stone remains unblemished.

I also know that this understanding is appreciated by my African colleagues. Even during the most difficult months of 2010 and 2011, when tempers ran high and emotions were on a razor edge, nobody left the table. We carried on talking. It was clear to everybody that the Kimberley Process was the only game in town, and without it we were all likely to lose.

Over the past several years, I spent some challenging but always fascinating times with Minister Mpofu, who is a man that I feel you all will agree does not hesitate to speak his mind. There were those who believed that he would shake the industry to its very foundations, and two years ago few would have predicted that he would be presiding over a gathering such as this - a conference in Zimbabwe, with the leadership of our business and the Kimberley Process in attendance.

Minister Mpofu, please accept my compliments for initiating this conference, and my thanks for the generous way in which we have been hosted in your beautiful country. And in particular, let me congratulate you for inviting the KP Chair, Ambassador Milovanovic, to be a keynote participant, thereby emphasizing Zimbabwe's commitment to the Kimberley Process.

Ambassador Milovanovic is also deserving of our congratulations. She assumed the sensitive position of KP Chair at a time when the role of the United States was viewed with a degree of suspicion by a good number of delegations in the Kimberley Process. And over the past almost 11 months, while she has remained true to her convictions, she has also demonstrated a sympathetic understanding of the positions of the others in the KP, and particularly those of the African producing countries.

Ambassador Milovanovic has also emphasized what has been a fundamental principle in the organization, and one that we in the World Diamond Council believe is critical to existence - and that is decisions cannot be taken unilaterally.

They must come about through multilateral discussion, with the appropriate time and effort invested in order to arrive at solutions which are acceptable across the board.

I strongly believe that the success that Ambassador Milovanovic has had in advancing the KP agenda during her term in office has been aided significantly by the partnership that developed with the country holding the position of Vice Chair, South Africa, and the understanding from the very beginning that the American and South African terms in office were interlinked.

A sense of common purpose was established from the start, and this engendered an atmosphere of cooperation.

At the Annual Meeting of the World Diamond Council in Italy earlier this year, I had the privilege of being seated between Ambassador Milovanovic and South Africa's Minister of Mineral Resources, Ms. Susan Shabangu. Together, they represented the unified position of the Kimberley Process. It was a powerful and important message for our industry and the world.

In her address to the WDC Annual Meeting, Minister Shabangu spoke eloquently about the role that diamonds should play downstream in the African producing countries. Diamond beneficiation has the potential to become the major driver in advancing the empowerment of the historically disadvantaged, she said, presenting opportunities for new entrepreneurs in large and small scale ventures. The development of the diamond sector has immense economic potential, and could contribute positively in addressing the socio-economic issues that challenge democracy and nation building in the region, Minister Shanbagu told us.

In healing over many of cracks that has developed in Kimberley Process in recent years, Ambassador Milovanovic has not shied away from tackling the pressing challenges facing the organization.

Among them is the reform of the organization, including the establishment of a permanent Administrative Support Mechanism, or ASM, which will provide logistic, organizational and communications support to the KP on an ongoing basis, irrespective of who is the KP Chair at any point in time. The World Diamond Council has proposed that it take responsibility for the management of the ASM, which it would do with the collaboration of four of its members, which include the Gem and Jewelry Export Promotion Council of India, the Israel Diamond Institute, the Antwerp World Diamond Center and the Diamond House of the Government of Ghana. The ASM would provide a significant upgrade to the management of the KP.

But undoubtedly, the most sensitive tackled by Ambassador Milovanovic during the past year has been the expansion of the meaning of "conflict diamonds" so that it applies to a less narrowly defined range of human rights issues.

She used the occasion of the 2012 WDC Annual Meeting in Italy to propose that conflict diamonds come to include "rough diamonds used to finance, or otherwise are directly related to armed conflict or other situations of violence."

The WDC General Assembly immediately endorsed her suggestion as a proposal that would be constructive in advancing the discussion on the expanded definition for conflict diamonds. Clearly, with a product that is so closely associated with the human emotions of love and commitment, it is nobody's interest that the diamond be associated with organized violence.

But we in the World Diamond Council insist that the expanded definition be carefully considered, with all parties consulted, and that a decision be arrived through consensus. Most importantly, it needs to be specific, be directly associated with diamond production, and be something that we are able to implement within the context of our existing structure.

The purpose of the Kimberley Process is to defend the diamond pipeline so that the diamond business will serve the legitimate interest of all its stakeholders. It should never become a tool to advance the narrow political interests of one group or another.

Zimbabwe is a country that should come to be considered a role model for the diamond business in promoting sustainable development. For while it has formidable economic and social challenges, it also is blessed with very significant rough diamond deposits, which hold the potential to improve the quality of life for all of its citizens.

It is enabling countries like Zimbabwe to meet its challenges that is the essence of the mission of the Kimberley Process. It is why we are gathered in this beautiful setting here today, and it is why the World Diamond Council is proud to be a member of this forum.

I thank you for your attention.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Messages
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VICTORIA FALLS, ZIMBABWE: NOVEMBER 12, 2012 - It is enabling countries like Zimbabwe to use their natural resources to meet the challenges of the future that is the essence of the mission of the Kimberley Process and the World Diamond Council, said Eli Izhakoff, WDC President, in his address to the opening session of the 2012 Zimbabwe Diamond Conference.

The following is the full text of Mr. Izhakoff's, the head of the World Diamond Council and a passionate and active supporter of ethical diamond trade behaviours speech to the 2012 Zimbabwe Diamond Conference:


H.E. Robert Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe; H.E Thabo Mbeki, former President of the Republic of South Africa; H.E. Prof. Arthur Mutambara, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe; H. E. Dr. Obert Mpofu, MInister of Mines and Mining Development of the Republic of Zimbabwe; H.E. Susan Shabangu, Minister of Mineral Resources of the Republic of South Africa; H.E. Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic, Chair of the Kimberley Process; honorable ministers, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:

Over the many years that I have been involved in the public life of diamond business, I have been lucky enough to visit and speak at many venues, some of them in truly spectacular settings. But I can say with confidence that Victoria Falls, just a short way away from here, is the most stunning I have seen, in terms of its raw natural beauty.
I congratulate the conference organizers for their inspired decision to hold this event in this place.

None of us should overlook the symbolic significance of the venue, for it emphasizes the natural wealth that is contained in this corner of the world. Local people call the waterfalls "Mosi-oa-Tunya" - excuse my pronunciation - or "the smoke that thunders," but to the world it is known as Victoria Falls, in honor of the queen that ruled the British Empire when it was discovered by the Scottish explorer David Livingstone in 1855.

Now, I tell you this not to give you a lesson in history or geography, but rather to illustrate that there is frequently a difference between the Western and African perspective. When I was young, we were taught that David Livingstone "discovered" the waterfalls, but, of course, they were well known to local people for centuries. Indeed, I suspect that nobody really knows who first discovered them.

What Livingstone did, of course, was to bring the waterfalls into the Western consciousness, and as was the custom, they were then named to show their association with the British Empire. It was only with the establishment of an independent Zambia in 1964 and then an independent Zimbabwe in 1980 that the length of the waterfall came the full control of Africa's indigenous people.

The continent's diamond resources are similarly associated with its colonial past, but with a fundamental difference. For, while the waterfalls are fixed in place and it is extremely unlikely they will ever be moved and reassembled in another location, the ultimate value of the gem diamond is fixed by the customer in the consumer markets, and those markets, more often than not, are located outside of Africa.

Now do not misunderstand me. I am not contending that the consumer holds absolute or even primary power, because without the diamond being extracted from the earth there is nothing to talk of in the first place.

What I am saying is that, when it comes to natural diamonds, the producer is reliant upon the consumer, just as the consumer is reliant upon the producer. In the diamond pipeline, we are all interconnected and all interdependent.

It is fair say that until the end of last century, we in the diamond industry were not fully aware of this interdependency. The advent of the conflict diamond crisis, and realization that the products we handled were associated with the suffering of innocent people in mining countries, was for many us a rude awakening.

But we were ready to act, and we did by playing what I can confidently state was an imperative role in the establishment of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, to which we added the complementary WDC System of Warranties. And in doing so we worked together with officials of governments from rough diamond mining countries, diamond cutting and trade centers and consumer centers, as well as with representatives of civil society. We did not always agree at first, but we were equally committed to finding solutions.

The dynamic that was created, often late into the night, created a common bond. It also engendered empathy for the other sides' points of view, and a sense of mutual trust. We came to appreciate that, even when we did not see eye to eye, our intentions were true and honest.

What I and my colleagues in the industry came to understand more fully is that, in countries like South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Angola, the DRC, Guinea, Tanzania, Ghana, Lesotho and now Zimbabwe, millions of people regard the diamond not only as the most beautiful and valuable gemstone on the face of this earth, but also an agent to a better life, for them and their children.

We came to realize that the men and women who were seated around table with us saw as their mission the task of securing the economic future of their countries.

It has been said before that most of the world considers the diamond and diamond jewelry to be a luxury and non-essential product. And, while we understand why this is the case, it is not an opinion shared by the men and women involved in the diamond trade and industry. For us, too, the diamond is the source of our livelihood.

It is because the diamond is essential to us that we are so acutely aware of consumer sentiment, and do all that we can to ensure that the natural romance, mystery and legacy of the stone remains unblemished.

I also know that this understanding is appreciated by my African colleagues. Even during the most difficult months of 2010 and 2011, when tempers ran high and emotions were on a razor edge, nobody left the table. We carried on talking. It was clear to everybody that the Kimberley Process was the only game in town, and without it we were all likely to lose.

Over the past several years, I spent some challenging but always fascinating times with Minister Mpofu, who is a man that I feel you all will agree does not hesitate to speak his mind. There were those who believed that he would shake the industry to its very foundations, and two years ago few would have predicted that he would be presiding over a gathering such as this - a conference in Zimbabwe, with the leadership of our business and the Kimberley Process in attendance.

Minister Mpofu, please accept my compliments for initiating this conference, and my thanks for the generous way in which we have been hosted in your beautiful country. And in particular, let me congratulate you for inviting the KP Chair, Ambassador Milovanovic, to be a keynote participant, thereby emphasizing Zimbabwe's commitment to the Kimberley Process.

Ambassador Milovanovic is also deserving of our congratulations. She assumed the sensitive position of KP Chair at a time when the role of the United States was viewed with a degree of suspicion by a good number of delegations in the Kimberley Process. And over the past almost 11 months, while she has remained true to her convictions, she has also demonstrated a sympathetic understanding of the positions of the others in the KP, and particularly those of the African producing countries.

Ambassador Milovanovic has also emphasized what has been a fundamental principle in the organization, and one that we in the World Diamond Council believe is critical to existence - and that is decisions cannot be taken unilaterally.

They must come about through multilateral discussion, with the appropriate time and effort invested in order to arrive at solutions which are acceptable across the board.

I strongly believe that the success that Ambassador Milovanovic has had in advancing the KP agenda during her term in office has been aided significantly by the partnership that developed with the country holding the position of Vice Chair, South Africa, and the understanding from the very beginning that the American and South African terms in office were interlinked.

A sense of common purpose was established from the start, and this engendered an atmosphere of cooperation.

At the Annual Meeting of the World Diamond Council in Italy earlier this year, I had the privilege of being seated between Ambassador Milovanovic and South Africa's Minister of Mineral Resources, Ms. Susan Shabangu. Together, they represented the unified position of the Kimberley Process. It was a powerful and important message for our industry and the world.

In her address to the WDC Annual Meeting, Minister Shabangu spoke eloquently about the role that diamonds should play downstream in the African producing countries. Diamond beneficiation has the potential to become the major driver in advancing the empowerment of the historically disadvantaged, she said, presenting opportunities for new entrepreneurs in large and small scale ventures. The development of the diamond sector has immense economic potential, and could contribute positively in addressing the socio-economic issues that challenge democracy and nation building in the region, Minister Shanbagu told us.

In healing over many of cracks that has developed in Kimberley Process in recent years, Ambassador Milovanovic has not shied away from tackling the pressing challenges facing the organization.

Among them is the reform of the organization, including the establishment of a permanent Administrative Support Mechanism, or ASM, which will provide logistic, organizational and communications support to the KP on an ongoing basis, irrespective of who is the KP Chair at any point in time. The World Diamond Council has proposed that it take responsibility for the management of the ASM, which it would do with the collaboration of four of its members, which include the Gem and Jewelry Export Promotion Council of India, the Israel Diamond Institute, the Antwerp World Diamond Center and the Diamond House of the Government of Ghana. The ASM would provide a significant upgrade to the management of the KP.

But undoubtedly, the most sensitive tackled by Ambassador Milovanovic during the past year has been the expansion of the meaning of "conflict diamonds" so that it applies to a less narrowly defined range of human rights issues.

She used the occasion of the 2012 WDC Annual Meeting in Italy to propose that conflict diamonds come to include "rough diamonds used to finance, or otherwise are directly related to armed conflict or other situations of violence."

The WDC General Assembly immediately endorsed her suggestion as a proposal that would be constructive in advancing the discussion on the expanded definition for conflict diamonds. Clearly, with a product that is so closely associated with the human emotions of love and commitment, it is nobody's interest that the diamond be associated with organized violence.

But we in the World Diamond Council insist that the expanded definition be carefully considered, with all parties consulted, and that a decision be arrived through consensus. Most importantly, it needs to be specific, be directly associated with diamond production, and be something that we are able to implement within the context of our existing structure.

The purpose of the Kimberley Process is to defend the diamond pipeline so that the diamond business will serve the legitimate interest of all its stakeholders. It should never become a tool to advance the narrow political interests of one group or another.

Zimbabwe is a country that should come to be considered a role model for the diamond business in promoting sustainable development. For while it has formidable economic and social challenges, it also is blessed with very significant rough diamond deposits, which hold the potential to improve the quality of life for all of its citizens.

It is enabling countries like Zimbabwe to meet its challenges that is the essence of the mission of the Kimberley Process. It is why we are gathered in this beautiful setting here today, and it is why the World Diamond Council is proud to be a member of this forum.

I thank you for your attention.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

Super_Ideal_Rock
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I will not post this report in full because I do not have permission. But it shows an almost opposing view to that of Eli in the post above.
http://www.diamonds.net/news/NewsItem.aspx?tc_dailyemail=1&ArticleID=41580

Report Warns Zimbabwe Corruption Weakens Diamond Supply Chain
Ongoing Smuggling, Money Laundering Benefits Zimbabwe Political Elite
Nov 12, 2012 5:00 AM By Jeff Miller, Avi Krawitz

RAPAPORT... Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) alerted the global diamond industry to ‎ongoing ‎smuggling in Zimbabwe, adding that money laundering and a lack of ‎transparency ‎directly benefits certain members of the country's ruling party.‎

In a report titled “Reap What You Sow: Greed and Corruption in Zimbabwe's ‎Marange ‎Diamond Fields,” released to coincide with the start of Zimbabwe's International ‎Diamond ‎Conference on Monday, PAC claimed that the diamond industry's efforts to ‎detect and ‎interrupt smuggled Marange diamonds continues to fail, thus compromising ‎the entire ‎supply chain.‎


The article is quite long - one part mentions the mines minister earns $800 a month but bought $20Mill worth of property over the past few years. He is Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe; H. E. Dr. Obert Mpofu, Minister of Mines and Mining Development of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

It remains a sad state of affairs and I hope that things can be made better for the sake of the poor suffering people from Zimbabwe.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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NOVEMBER 14, 2012
Riches for Mugabe crew
ALLIES of President Robert Mugabe have carried out the ''biggest single plunder of diamonds'' since the days of Cecil Rhodes, stealing Zimbabwean gems worth $US2 billion ($A1.92 billion) in the past four years, according to a new study.
Revenues from the Marange alluvial diamond field in eastern Zimbabwe, one of the richest in the world, have enriched Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
In February last year, Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti disclosed that $300 million collected by the Zimbabwe Minerals Development Corporation and the Mineral Marketing Commission had not been handed over to the state.
The study found most illicit revenue is raised through a scheme in which diamonds are sold for knock-down prices within the legal monitoring system in Harare, then resold in trade centres such as Dubai and India for twice the original price, with the sellers and their Zimbabwean allies taking a cut.
About $2 billion has been lost to the state since 2008.
Chinese nationals and state-owned companies are the largest investors in Marange. Many work in partnership with Zimbabwean military chiefs, who have seats on the boards of mining companies.

from the Melbourne age and the TELEGRAPH
 

Regular Guy

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New tumult with Kimberley, as the US gets ready to either and both take last punches as it holds the chair, and relinquishes it to South Africa...

read here...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121113/af-zimbabwe-diamonds/

But, it appears the US Chairwoman is holding her own...

VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe's diamond conference was rocked by controversy Tuesday over the Kimberley Process, the world diamond trade regulatory body, whose chairwoman was publicly asked to resign because she is American.

Gillian Milovanovic, the American chairwoman of the Kimberley Process, came under a barrage of criticism from African delegates at the Zimbabwe Diamond Conference for allegedly not doing enough to persuade the U.S. government to lift trade restrictions on Zimbabwe's state-owned diamond mining companies.

and

Milovanovic told the delegates that she would not respond to their criticism.

"You are looking for something very dramatic from all this but you are not going to get it," she said. "I'm not a dramatic person by nature."

Milovanovic said her position on the Kimberley Process had no power to influence the U.S. imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe.

The U.S Embassy said U.S. sanctions against Zimbabwe's state-owned mining companies are separate from the Kimberley Process. Michael Gonzalez, the political and economic officer at the embassy in Harare, said the American sanctions against Zimbabwe's mining companies have nothing to do with the Kimberley Process but are a bilateral issue. He said Washington has imposed sanctions because of its concerns over state violence.


Ira Z.
 

Regular Guy

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So, Kimberley meetings have come and gone.

The Jewelers of America did a helpful piece, I think, summarizing what they liked.

What they clarified, I think, for some, is that if jewelers wish to continue to explain why the jewelery being bought in the US is without conflict, it is not so much as because of the Kimberley Process, but because of protections provided by the US government.

http://www.diamonds.net/News/NewsIt...Welcomes+Progress+on+Kimberley+Process+Reform

as for example:

However, JA notes that, regardless of Zimbabwe returning to full Kimberley Process status, the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) continues to enforce legal sanctions that prohibit all dealings, both directly and through third parties, with the Zimbabwean entities that own or control the Marange-region diamond mines and the diamonds exported by these entities.

Regards,

Ira Z.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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http://www.idexonline.com/portal_FullNews.asp?id=37883

According to AP, Biti and his former opposition party in the coalition have criticized what they call the “militarization of Zimbabwe's diamond mining by Mugabe's loyalist police and military which have gone into partnership with secretive Chinese companies to exploit the stones.”
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Here is an excellent article.
I am in 90% agreement, but there are some signs of an attempted US colonialism or 'let's democratize the rest of the world' attitude that clearly (IMHO) has not worked in Korea, Vietnam, Afganistan, Iraq and again in Afganistan.
Israel/Palestien? Well..............
Brad knows this stuff though, as he was the US gov't MAN.
And he cares.

http://ethisphere.com/magazine-articles/what-would-kimberley-do/
What China’s 2014 chairmanship of the Kimberley Process could tell the world.

By, Brad Brooks-Rubin

- See more at: http://ethisphere.com/magazine-articles/what-would-kimberley-do/#sthash.tXPalClH.dpuf
excerpt:
Can concepts of “human rights,” which implicitly drove the creation of the KP, be incorporated in an explicit and binding manner into a multilateral system managed by governments? Can Western approaches to respecting and protecting human rights be squared with those elsewhere?
Do consumers actually care about the ethical origin of the products they purchase, or are their main concerns price and quality? Have consumers in newly-dominant markets such as China, India or the Middle East developed ethical consciousness yet? Will they?
How strongly are governments willing to respond to violations by other governments within a multilateral system, especially when such violations result from internal issues that go to the heart of national sovereignty?
As African economic fortunes rise, largely on the back of natural resource production, how do African governments exercise political control and influence? What role does the large-scale Chinese investment in Africa play in defining African political perspectives?


When China assumes the helm on January 1, these questions will likely remain unanswered.

- See more at: http://ethisphere.com/magazine-articles/what-would-kimberley-do/#sthash.tXPalClH.dpuf
 

barubin10

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This is a long-quiet thread, but thought I would add a new reference to those interested in the issue: http://ethisphere.com/magazine-articles/what-would-kimberley-do/.

The particular connection between China and Zimbabwe is not mentioned in the article but could be the most interesting note of all next year. Zimbabwe, of course, is finding itself more and more in the mainstream of the industry, whether in Belgium (http://allafrica.com/stories/201311140538.html?aa_source=nwsltr-mining-en) or Dubai (http://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-36641.html).

This recent rushing to Marange could well leave the connecton to China (via Anjin, etc) a more distant memory. But if something does go wrong in the diamond sector, whether through corruption (http://www.theindependent.co.zw/2013/09/20/zimbabwe-diamond-us6m-bribery-scandal-deepens/) or violence, during 2014, it will fall to the KP Chair to respond. In 2009, the historic ties rooted in independence struggles between Namibia and Zimbabwe complicated the KP's effort to respond to the initial incidents in Marange. The economic connections between China and Zimbabwe could dwarf those challenges, given that the ties go well beyond the diamond trade and in to many areas of Zimbabwean economic activity.

Gauging whether the general Chinese approach of respecting "sovereignty" and not interfering in domestic affairs of other countries will work for them as the KP Chair will be more interesting in Zimbabwe than anywhere else.

And if China and the KP are again unable to deal with an issue related to Zimbabwe, it will also again be industry that takes the force of the blow.
 
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