U.N. Reports on ‘Conflict Diamonds’

Diamond dealers are still buying “conflict” stones from Angolan rebel group UNITA, a new U.N. report says.

“It is clear that international dealers are still prepared to flout [United Nations] sanctions and buy diamonds from UNITA, and that it is very difficult, even for those with the will, to prevent diamond smuggling, given that the system of controls on the sales of diamonds is not yet in place,” the report said.

This was backed up by statements from UNITA officials, who recently told the Portuguese press that the sanctions were ineffective and “we are selling as many diamonds as we want.”

However, the report did say that the sanctions were having some effect-just not enough to meet the goal of choking off funds to the rebel group.

The new U.N. report updated one issued last March, which contained harsh criticism of the diamond industry, particularly authorities in Antwerp. The United Nations is also preparing a report on the conflict diamond situation in Sierra Leone, which was the subject of a report on ABC’s Prime Time Live last October.