South Africa Introduces Conflict Diamond Resolution to UN

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(Rapaport…November 30, 2000) On December 1, the United Nations General Assembly is expected to take up a draft resolution for the creation of an international certification system to ensure that rough diamonds are coming from conflict free zones. The resolution will be introduced by the South African Ambassador to the UN, Dumisana Kumalo.

The South African resolution, backed by the United States, Britain, Israel, Belgium, and other diamond centers, is expected to pass. There has been resistance from countries like Russia and India, who feel they should not be subjected to the international standards since conflict diamonds are not a problem in their part of the world.

Kumalo, told the Associated Press that he took his resolution to the General Assembly rather than the Security Council to gain as close to universal approval as possible. “This is the kind of resolution for which all 189 countries should be co-sponsors, to really send a message throughout the world that we cannot accept the tainting of this industry by a few people.”

A fallout from lost diamond sales would economically hurt southern African nations like South Africa, Botswana and Namibia the most. All three of these countries have internationally recognized regulations for certifying diamonds.

National certification systems are also in place in Angola and Sierra Leone, allowing the governments to continue exporting diamonds while a ban on rebel diamond exports is enforced.

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