RAPAPORT… The Kimberley Process’s definition of conflict diamond is too narrow and specific and needs to be expanded to cover a wider range of violent circumstances, according to its chair, Gillian Milovanovic. She told Reuters that the Kimberley Process is considering updating definitions as part of a review begun in 2011, in order to determine what makes a conflict diamond. She noted that the initial definition was quite specific when the process was established a decade ago.
“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 told Reuters.
Milovanovic noted that the Kimberley Process should look at the use of broad, founding definitions by organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as apply lessons learned from Zimbabwe. She stated, however, that it did not mean the Marange issues would be reviewed again.
The definition of what constitutes a conflict diamond has shaken the Kimberley Process the past two years as members disagreed over whether to allow rough exports from Zimbabwe due to human rights abuses in the Marange diamond fields. As of November 2011 though, Zimbabwe was given a green light to begin exporting rough diamonds. That action, however, resulted in one founding member of the Kimberley Process, Global Witness, to withdraw its membership.
Milovanovic said that she hopes to see proposals for a number of changes, including the establishment of a new secretariat for the group and a possible steering committee to guide discussions, but argued against any major revamp of decision-making process, which currently requires a consensus. She stressed that consensus is vital to maintain internal cohesion and a clear focus on the Kimberley Processes’ objectives.
“The Kimberley Process needs to make some changes, but also it cannot be all things to all people,” Milovanovic told Reuters.