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Why We Need Kimberley Process Reform

By Rob Bates, Senior Editor

Posted on July 3, 2012

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A longtime observer of the Kimberley Process, who wishes to remain anonymous, emails the following thought-provoking points: 

What if there were diamonds (either mined or imported to be cut) in Syria?

What if these factories were connected to the Assad regime and there was evidence [they were] funding his slaughter of his own people? Or instead of the presence of a different form of carbon (oil), there was actually a diamond mine?

Would the industry be okay with Assad’s diamonds being in the supply chain? Think consumers would be comfortable with those purchases, even those that are apathetic today? Chances are they’d all look to the KP to keep them out. 

And the KP would have to say “sorry, we don’t handle that.” “Go to the UN for help; this isn’t our job.” And we know the story there.

Does industry want that? For that not to be the KP’s role? Does the industry really want stories like that on the front pages and have to answer on its own? “Diamonds fuel slaughter of Syrian people”?    

There aren’t diamonds in Syria, of course. But that could be looked at just as an accident of history and geology. Those accidents won’t always play in the industry’s favor. The Kimberley Process has had one crisis, and the next may be around the corner.  

The diamond business has a chance to do it with no crisis on our hands, but with the memory of one still fresh. It will be much harder once the second crisis begins, and even harder still after the second one is over— the stakes will only get higher and the work more complex, not easier. 

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