In light of reports of increased turmoil in the Central African Republic (CAR), the World Diamond Council has warned members of the diamond industry to carry out enhanced due diligence.
Diamonds from CAR are currently the only diamonds that meet the official Kimberley Process (KP) definition of “conflict diamonds.” In 2013, the KP officially suspended the country from the certification scheme, citing continued conflict with the government and armed forces.
In recent years, the KP has experimented with allowing certain shipments from the non-rebel-held “green zones”—including its capital of Bangui—under tight controls.
But with reports that Bangui has come under fire from rebel fighters, and that the situation is causing civilians to flee both the area and the country, the World Diamond Council is asking dealers to take extra precautions to ensure that they are only dealing with traders in areas under secure CAR-government control that show no evidence of armed rebel group activity.
The World Diamond Council is the overarching industry group that represents the trade in front of the Kimberley Process, the certification scheme meant to stem the flow of conflict diamonds.
“WDC urges all members of the trade to continue conducting enhanced due diligence, regarding the import of rough diamonds from the CAR and its neighboring countries,” said a statement. “Although diamond production from conflict-affected areas in CAR represents only a very small percentage of global diamond production, diamond businesses should exercise the utmost caution.”
The statement adds: “The WDC calls on the entire industry to uphold the integrity of the diamond supply chain by proactively implementing the guidelines contained in the WDC’s new System of Warranties. These include addressing risks in areas beyond those covered by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, including human and labor rights, [anti-money laundering], and anti-corruption.”
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