WDC urges Kimberley Process to review CAR’s participation

Citing widespread reports of “lawlessness” due to a recent rebel takeover in the Central African Republic, the World Diamond Center has issued a statement urging the Kimberley Process to review the position of the CAR as a KP participant.

“Reports of lawlessness in the country are widespread following the rebel takeover, with serious abuses of human rights documented,” Eli Izhakoff, WDC chairman and CEO, wrote in a letter to Abbe Chikane, Kimberley Process chairman and CEO. “More specifically, the expatriate diamond community has been the target of selective plundering and looting expeditions by uniformed gangs. Further we believe the government-appointed KP exporting authority responsible for issuing and validating the CAR’s KP certificates is no longer capable of performing its duly authorized function. We must assume that this situation will continue until law and order has been restored.”

The letter continues, “We also wish to bring to your attention the situation arising from the fleeing of the country by any means available by expatriate members of the diamond community, who hand carried their belongings as they fled, including purchased rough diamonds. After hastily exiting the country they realize that rough diamonds without valid KP certificates cannot be traded in legitimate markets.

“We therefore urge the chair, together with participants and observers, to review the participation of the CAR and to try to find creative solutions to accommodate this unusual case of force majeure without prejudice to the fight against conflict diamonds.”