The Issue of Blood Diamonds
Thomas Mr. Butler & Ms. Flath 4A English I, 4B World Geography 6 February 2013 The Issue of Blood Diamonds What is the cause of major rebellions, riots, and coups in Africa? The blood diamond trade is one of the strongest illegal trades in Africa, which has been fueling conflict for approximately three decades. The primary purpose of blood diamond trading contributes to funding armed conflicts for guerrilla and militant forces.
The diamonds are illegally mined in a conflict zone, which is then used by guerrilla forces to fight and rebel against government forces, the effect of which can be seen throughout most conflict-ridden nations of Africa. These precious stones saw a major use during the post-Cold War era, which funded for many conflicts in Africa. The blood diamond trade is the perfect example of natural resources in Africa being used for corrupt actions, trades, and conflict that must be prevented to save lives. International attention must be sought and more jurisdictions should be taken into action.
The issue of blood diamonds must be taken seriously before more innocent blood is shed and lives are lost, as in the past. Many countries that are notoriously affected with the issue of the blood diamond trade are Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly known as Zaire), Zimbabwe, the Republic of Congo, and Cote d’Ivoire (Armstrong). In the early 1980’s, the early forms of the blood diamond trade began to surface in these nations. However major campaigns of the blood diamond trade began in the 1990’s, especially after the end of the Cold War era (Armstrong).
Mining conditions were poor as workers earned around seven cents a day, but they were willing to work through these horrible conditions as they hoped for a better life by mining for blood diamonds, which would be a quick way to prosper and help their family (Armstrong). One excellent example of blood diamonds contributing towards a civil conflict can be seen in the nation of Liberia during the Liberian Civil War between 1983-2003 (Doyle). The UN and global community accused the Liberian president Charles G. Taylor of supporting, training, and distributing weapons to insurgents of Sierra Leone in exchange for diamonds (Brown).
Liberia was also accused of supplying blood diamonds to al-Qaeda, as this was the root cause of the bombing of U. S. embassies in 1998. The U. N. retaliated by applying sanctions during 2001. This act prevented Liberia from trading conflict diamonds with Sierra Leone as it caused turmoil (Brown). After the conflicts in Liberia, the nation is now a member of the Kimberley Certification Process as it has constructed a legitimate mining industry to ensure a clean diamond trade (Global Policy Forum) A second example of blood diamonds contributing towards conflict can be seen in the nation of Cote d’Ivoire (Reuters).
A civil conflict in Cote d’Ivoire overthrew the central government of the country by a coup, causing a major civil war in the country (Reuters). It was soon discovered that blood diamonds were the root cause of the coup and the civil war in Cote d’Ivoire because the nation became a major blood diamond exporter and trading center along with Liberia (Brown). The U. N. retaliated to the conflict by ordering sanctions on all diamond mining and trading in the nation of Cote d’Ivoire to prevent further blood diamond trading and civil war.
Sanctions on Cote d’Ivoire was lifted at the end of 2003 as the Kimberley Certification Process came into affect in Cote d’Ivoire. The nation of Sierra Leone was known to be the most notorious for the blood diamond trade (Brown). The issue of blood diamonds was discovered in Sierra Leone in 1991. Conflict began in 1991, when Revolutionary United Forces (R. U. F. ) crossed over from the Liberia-Sierra Leone border and attacked towns and villages in northern and eastern Sierra Leone (Hirsch, Questia).
A year later in 1992, the same rebel force attacked and seized the diamond capital of Sierra Leone, the city of Kono (Brown). The N. P. R. F (National Provisioning Ruling Forces) attempted to restore law and order and stabilize the conflict-ridden area of Sierra Leone. This resulted in a major war against R. U. F and N. P. R. F belligerents (Brown). The N. P. R. F launched Operation Genesis to drive out the R. U. F. rebels. The operation carried out by the N. P. R. F to drive out the R. U. F rebels would prove to be a failure (Brown).
The rebels decided to strike again during the Sierra Leonean election of 1996. R. U. F. rebels intimated voters by threatening to amputate civilian’s hands and legs in order to gain control of the diamond mines for illegal trades through politics (Global Post). Despite these brutal actions, the R. U. F was invited to partake in elections and, in doing so, they eventually became a political party through a forced peace agreement (Global Post). In July 1999, violence increased in Sierra Leone due to increased blood diamond trade. Sierra Leone was forced to sign a peace treaty with R. U. F. ebels by bringing them into the Sierra Leonean government and assigning many cabinet positions to them (Brown). Not wanting to rebuild the nation of Sierra Leone, the R. U. F. took advantage of the peace treaty by regaining control of diamond mines in the Kono district and the Tongo Field. Due to the actions of the R. U. F. , many innocent lives were killed, as no international intervention was present during this time (Brown). In 2001, exactly ten years after the civil war in Sierra Leone began, the United Nations decided to intervene in Sierra Leone. The sanctions enforced by the U. N. eren’t effective at all, making many nations to assume that the United Nations was lenient about this issue. Not until a year later in 2002 did the U. N. properly intervene in Sierra Leone by sending a 17,000 peacekeeping force into the conflict-torn nation to properly supervise the disarmament and the abdication of power by the R. U. F. The war in Sierra Leone would gain majority of international attention when Unasmil forces under the U. N. were denied access to investigate the R. U. F. held diamond mines, in the Tongo field and Kono district. The war ended in March 2003 while several R.
U. F. members were held for many civil atrocities and war crimes (Brown). This incident would be the third time that the U. N. turned a blind eye on an issue that resulted in a serious matter. In addition, the U. N. also overlooked the genocides that occurred in Rwanda and Sudan, which began through minor conflicts. Due to the international community’s late response and the issue of blood diamonds in Sierra Leone, the U. N. has to ensure that Sierra Leone can govern itself without foreign assistance in the long run. The blood diamond trade in the nation Sierra
Leone had a negative impact on Sierra Leone’s economy, politics, trade, and business. The U. N. gave little heed to what was happening in the nation, thus causing the blood diamond trade and the actions of the R. U. F. to weaken the nation of Sierra Leone. Blood diamonds in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly known as Zaire) have contributed greatly to its civil wars since the early 1980’s (Blank). In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the effect of the illegal trade can be seen in the eastern portion of the nation, as the eastern D. R. C. , is the area that was heavily affected by civil warfare and diamonds.
Various atrocities ranging from the violation of human rights to civil wars can be seen through the effects seen today in the D. R. C. (Blank). In the year 2000, the U. S. Campaign for the Elimination of Conflict Diamonds banned the trade of blood diamonds in the D. R. C. and also put in place the Clean Diamonds Trade Act of 2003. This act would prevent any future trade of conflict diamonds through the Kimberly Process Certification System (Blank). In the Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe, the blood diamond trade had come to an end through the Kimberly Process Certification System.
This certification system made sure that a nation is not involved in the blood diamond trade (BBC News Africa). The system also makes sure that diamond mines are eligible for domestic and international trade through enforced laws and records. However, minor issues still existed in the diamond mining industry of these two nations. In the Republic of Congo, the Kimberly Certification Process expelled the nation, as many diamond mines had no official diamond industry. The Republic of Congo was expelled as it exported and sold large quantities of diamonds, which was not recorded accurately (BBC News Business).
The Kimberly Certification Process accused the Republic of Congo for falsifying the certificates of origin, for exported diamonds. In Zimbabwe, the Marange Diamond Mine was notorious for blood diamond trading and diamond smuggling. However, the World Diamond Council monitored Zimbabwe’s diamond trade, especially from the Marange Diamond Mine (BBC News Africa). The Kimberly Certification Process issued that Zimbabwe can trade diamonds in the global market in 2010, after international reports and observations declared the mine, conflict free (BBC News Africa).
Over the past two decades, several nations have been trying to prevent the blood diamond trade. The United States and Canada, especially, were the two nations that have been working hard in stopping the notorious trade. The United States issued Executive Order 13194, which agreed with U. N. sanctions on the importation and exportation of diamonds from Sierra Leone (U. S. Department of State). On April 25, 2003, President George W. Bush issued the Clean Diamond Act of 2003 (U. S. Department of State).
This act banned rough diamond importation from Liberia, as it had been recognized by the United Nations for acting as a supplier of conflict diamonds in Sierra Leone (U. S. Department of State). In the year 2000, the nation of South Africa issued the Kimberly Certification Process on diamond trading. Canada was a strong supporter of this act and has passed laws of its own to prevent the sale and trade of conflict diamonds (Stop Blood Diamonds). Canada passed the Export and Import of Rough Diamonds Act during 2002. This act in Canada supervises the purpose the mined diamonds will be used for, whether foreign or domestic (Stop Blood Diamonds).
The Export and Import of Rough Diamonds Act has issued identification numbers and certificates for business and jobs involved in the diamond business, to prevent the sale of conflict diamonds. The Kimberly Certification Process was launched to expose the use of diamonds in civil conflict and to prevent the illegal trade (Kimberley Certification Process, Encyclopedia Britannica). The certification process began as a simple method to find the link on how natural resources, such as diamonds, were related to conflict (Kimberley Certification Process, Encyclopedia Britannica).
Since international pressure was mounting in many major diamond-producing nations, a conference in South Africa was established to discuss the prevention of blood diamonds (Global Witness). This meeting started a three-year negotiating conference, which would eventually establish the Kimberley Certification Process (The Official Website of South Africa). The United Nations General Assembly would eventually pass the Kimberley Certification Process to ensure that clean diamond trading is enforced. This act was put in place so that it could also monitor the occurrences of nations contributing to the blood diamond trade (Global Witness).
How can the issue of blood diamonds be resolved? Nations such as the United States, Canada, and South Africa have passed clean diamond trading acts to prevent the illegal trades of blood diamonds (Hirsch, Questia). The nation of South Africa passed the Kimberly Certification Process in order to ensure clean diamond trading and business practices in many African nations, including those with conflict-ridden nations such as Sierra Leone, the D. R. C. , Zimbabwe, and Liberia (Worldpress). The United Nations must act now to prevent future conflicts that are related to blood diamonds.
In Liberia, the U. N. ordered sanctions on the nation, but they had little effect as blood diamonds found its way into Sierra Leone. The peacekeeping force sent by the U. N. was not able to enforce the newly passed sanctions due to the issue of blood diamonds and its spread to from Liberia to Sierra Leone. This action by the U. N. would be disastrous as many nations accused the organization for “sympathizing” the nation of Liberia (Worldpress). In Sierra Leone, the U. N. took the issue of blood diamonds lightheartedly, which resulted in as the slaughtering and killing due to the R.
U. F. rebels’ surge for political power in the nation. The U. N. sent a peacekeeping force of around 7,000, but it was too late. The late response of the U. N. resulted in the weakening of Sierra Leone due to the R. U. F. rebels’ warfare and the genocide of people during the Sierra Leonean elections of 1996 (Worldpress). Conflicts due to blood diamonds have also weakened the economy of Sierra Leone as well according to statistics and data by BBC. The issue of blood diamonds must be taken into serious consideration before more innocent blood is shed and lives are lost.
The global community must come up with more jurisdictions, laws, and rules in order to prevent blood diamond trading in order to enforce clean diamond trading. Works Cited Blank, Laura. Conflict Diamonds and the Congo. n. d. 2 February 2013 <http://www. worldvision. org/content. nsf/about/congo>. This article discusses about the effects of blood diamonds in the Congo during and after its civil conflict. The source describes about how the Congo is recovering from its recent blood diamond conflicts and how it is recovering.
The source is reliable as the author has expertise in this subject by being a firsthand witness of blood diamonds and its effects in the Congo. Brown, Pervenia P. Blood Diamonds. 13 December 2005. 2 February 2012 <http://www. worldpress. org/Africa/2193. cfm>. This website by worldpress. org talks about the history of civil conflict due to blood diamonds in the nation of Sierra Leone. This source ranges from the early causes of the conflict, development of the conflict, and the aftermath of the conflict. The website is reliable as it is an accurate news web source of current events around the world. English Online. Blood Diamonds. February 2013 <http://www. english-online. at/current_affairs/blood-diamonds/african-diamond-conflict. htm>. English Online discusses about the effects of blood diamonds on conflict-ridden nations such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Ivory Coast, The Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, and many other nations. This source talks about the effects of the blood diamonds on people in nations notorious for the blood diamond trade. Hirsch, John L. Sierra Leone: Diamonds and the Struggle for Democracy. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2001. This book talks about the blood diamond trade and its affects on politics in the nation of Sierra Leone.
It also talks about the R. U. F. rebels and their rise to power by seizing diamond mines in order to sell mined diamonds for guerrilla warfare and political conflict. Loucoumane Couliably, Joe Bavier. Ivory Coast Wants Blood Diamond Ban Lifted. 3 June 2012. 8 Febrary 2013 <http://www. reuters. com/article/2012/06/03/us-un-ivorycoast-diamonds-idUSBRE85209O20120603>. This source discusses about the Kimberley Process and its affect on the nation of Cote d’Ivoire. Over the years, the blood diamond trade has been notorious in this nation causing political urmoil and genocide in Cote d’Ivoire. The website has elaborated about how the diamond trade was halted by the U. N. and how the Kimberley Process came into effect in Cote d’Ivoire. Key points discusses the aftermath of the blood diamond trade in Cote d’Ivoire and the sanctions that have been put into effect for certain violations pertaining to blood diamonds. Melik, James. Diamonds: Does the Kimberley Process work? 28 June 2010. 7 February 2013 <http://www. bbc. co. uk/news/10307046>. This article by James Melik of BBC discusses about the rules and regulations of the Kimberley Process.
He also discusses the effect of the Kimberley Process and how it has greatly accomplished the task of preventing diamonds being used in civil conflict —. Canadian Policy and Laws. 8 February 2013. 8 February 2013 <http://www. state. gov/e/eb/tfs/tfc/diamonds/index. htm>. This source discusses about Canada’s rules, policies, regulations, and thoughts on the blood diamond trade. This source gives a brief overview of how Canada has made sure that its trade involving diamonds is clean through a certification and registration process, the Kimberley Certification Process. —.
Conflict Diamonds. N/A. 8 February 2013 <http://www. state. gov/e/eb/tfs/tfc/diamonds/index. htm>. This source discusses about the United States’ policy and regulations on the blood diamond trade. The website discusses about the recent U. S. actions taken to ensure the clean trade of diamonds. —. Diamonds in Conflict. 2005. 8 February 2013 <http://www. globalpolicy. org/the-dark-side-of-natural-resources-st/diamonds-in-conflict. html>. This source presented by Global Policy discusses the relation of natural resources, such as diamonds, between conflict, war, and tension in Africa.
It also gives a brief history of the conflicts related due to blood diamonds during the post-Cold War era. —. Kimberley Process: Zimbabwe Diamond Exports Approved. 2 November 2011. 8 February 2013 <http://www. bbc. co. uk/news/world-africa-15554609>. This source by BBC talks about the approval of Zimbabwe in the diamond market through the Kimberley Certification Process. The webpage talks about the history of blood diamonds in the nation of Zimbabwe and the aftermath of its conflicts. —. Kimberley Process. N. D. 3 February 2013 <http://www. britannica. om/EBchecked/topic/1002313/Kimberley-Process>. This source by Encyclopedia Brittanica discusses a brief summary of the Kimberley Process. The source exaplains how the trade of blood diamonds has decreased after the enforcement of the Kimbereley Certification Process. —. South Africa’s Role in the Kimberley Process (Import and Export of Rough Diamonds). 13 February 2004. 8 February 2013 <http://www. dfa. gov. za/foreign/Multilateral/profiles/kimberly. htm>. This website discusses about South Africa writing and constituting the Kimberley Process to enforce clean diamond trading.
This source discusses about the countries that have enforced the certification process and how the blood diamond trade has decreased because of this process. —. The Kimberley Process. N/A. 8 February 2013 <http://www. globalwitness. org/campaigns/conflict/conflict-diamonds/kimberley-process>. This source by globalwitness. org discusses a brief history of the Kimberley Certification Process. The source discusses about the nations who have enforced it and it also discusses about the regulations of blood diamonds enforced by many nations against the blood diamond trade
Walt, Vivienne. Diamonds Aren’t Forever. 7 December 2006. 1 February 2013 <http://money. cnn. com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/12/11/8395442/index. htm>. This source discusses about the aftermath of the conflict-ridden nations due to blood diamonds. The author, Vivienne Walt, talks about how the nations ridden with blood diamond conflict will recover in the future and the fate of their economies. * 2 Sources (The Kimberley Process: Encyclopedia Britannica & Sierra Leone’s and the Struggle for Democracy) are from the Encyclopedia Britannica and Questia Databases.