Kimberley Process in search of new conflict diamonds definition

Kimberley Process (KP) leader Gillian Milovanovic is proposing a new definition of conflict diamonds to include acts of violence and broader human rights issues, she said in a statement.

The document argues that "an updated definition could apply to diamond-related conflicts that meet generally agreed-upon standards of armed conflicts, such as a resort to armed force between States or protracted armed violence between governmental authorities and organized armed groups or between such groups within a State."

"This would also apply to circumstances of systematic violence, such as protracted and violent internal disturbances and tensions, grave acts of violence or acts of a similar nature over an extended period."

This clarification, reports Idex Online, responds to concerns by countries worried that internal issues may be used as an excuse to exclude them from KP on political grounds. Among them are most large diamond countries – Russia, China, Israel and most African countries – all mine, trade or manufacture diamonds.

It also echoes concerns from industry players, such as London jeweller Ingle and Rhode’s. The company said in April that the current standard was not up to snuff and used an infographic to explain why.

“The Kimberley Process only addresses diamonds produced in areas controlled by rebel militias. It doesn’t take into consideration violence committed by government forces," said Tim Ingle from Ingle and Rhode.

KP has received a vast range of suggestions for the new definition. “Some are controversial, others seem to raise more questions,” concludes the document.