Report: Central African Republican is diamond-smuggling hub

A report suggests the Central African Republic is being used to smuggle gems from rebel-held areas of neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, the BBC reports.

Trading in diamonds used to finance conflict is in violation of international guidelines that came into force at the beginning of this year.

The report highlighting the situation in central Africa is part of a campaign by the lobby group Partnership Africa-Canada to strengthen the guidelines.

The quantity of diamonds Belgium imports annually from the CAR is much higher than the African state officially exports, according to the report.

“The Central African Republic exports officially $60 million in diamonds. Belgium imports two to three times that,” Brussels-based researcher Chris Dietrich told the BBC. “Last year it was only $100 million but the year before it was $160 million.”

The CAR Government says the explanation is that traders in diamonds from all over the world wrongly declare their origin as the CAR for tax or legal reasons.

But the report notes links between arms dealers and diamond traders in both countries.

All this reveals the strong likelihood that conflict diamonds from the DRC are being laundered through the CAR, it says.

The report urges the Central African Government to stop the trafficking and implement credible, independent reviews of the situation.