Veteran “Conflict Diamond” Activist Leaves Group

Ian Smillie, research coordinator with Partnership Africa Canada, is leaving his position at the end of July, the group recently announced.

Smillie has worked on the conflict diamonds issue with PAC since 1998. He was one of the architects of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, the international regulatory system for rough diamonds, which was launched in 2003 to help prevent the trade in diamonds from funding armed conflict.

The group noted that Smillie had “grown weary” of the Kimberley Process’ indecision on major matters.

“In recent years, PAC and others in the Kimberley Process have been critical of the KP’s shortcomings and its failure to deal decisively with several important matters, such as Venezuela’s flagrant non-compliance with KP’s regulations and the Zimbabwe authorities’ gross abuse of human rights in certain mining areas,” it said. “PAC’s reports on both these questions have been met with denial by the respective governments, and by the complicity of a few governments within the KP.”

The group concluded that it “remains committed to helping to make the KP work, and to making it work better.”

Smillie was also testified about “conflict diamonds” at the International Criminal Court trial of Charles Taylor. He recounted that experience for JCK here.