Can the United Nations General Assembly Bring an End to Conflict Diamonds?
Global Witness is urging the United Nations General Assembly on Monday November 20, to pass a resolution to launch negotiations for the establishment of an internationally binding treaty that will regulate the import and export of diamonds in order to end the trade in conflict diamonds. To be truly international and effective the resolution must commit the negotiation process to be undertaken within the United Nations system, set a timeframe for the negotiating process and be committed to achieving concrete solutions. Failure to take the process through the United Nations would result in only a handful of countries being involved in the treaty process and would cause significant time delays in its implementation. Attempts by certain states to move the process out of the United Nations can only be viewed as attempting to delay the successful negotiation of an internationally binding treaty.
After considerable international pressure from NGO’s the diamond industry has reluctantly presented proposals to tackle the problem of conflict diamonds – however, to date these proposals have not been implemented and in reality it is business as usual for the diamond trade. The diamond industry must implement these reforms, however concerted political action from governments must accompany these reforms culminating in the establishment of an internationally binding treaty.
Owing to the fractious nature of the diamond industry and diamond trading patterns the treaty process needs to be as inclusive as possible and it is absolutely essential that as many countries as possible commit to this system.
Conflict diamonds are still being traded on the international market, as the recent interim report by the Angola Sanctions Monitoring team suggests, and those that are still involved in the trade are known to the industry, which as ever remains silent. These conflict diamonds are having a devastating effect on innocent populations, and severely threaten the legitimacy of the remainder of the trade.
“Time and time again the United Nations has expressed the need to rid the world of this deadly trade. Time and time again it has asked for solutions to this problem. Finally there is international political consensus as to what needs to be done – the establishment of an independent international certification system for the import and export of diamonds. It is vital that the United Nations, governments and the diamond industry – in the run up to the Christmas selling period — send a clear and decisive message to the consumer – that they are serious about eradicating conflict diamonds forever,” said Alex Yearsley of Global Witness.