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Kimberley Process executive calls to redefine concept of conflict diamond

Kimberley Process leader Gillian Milovanovic has proposed a new definition of conflict diamonds to include acts of violence during his presentation at the opening of the 8th World Diamond Council (WDC) meeting in Vicenza, Italy.

Milovanovic said the conflict diamond definition should refer to rough diamonds used to finance armed conflict or other situations relating to violence affecting diamond-mining areas, reports Diamonds.net.

She stressed the Kimberley Process needs to modernize its function while maintaining focus on its mandate to monitor the rough distribution system:

“We cannot be everything to everyone and our role is to cover the rough distribution process,” she said. “The term conflict diamonds must accurately reflect today’s concerns as it did in 2002 when the Kimberley Process was being formed.”

World Diamond Council president Eli Izhakoff, added that while the Kimberley Process has played a role in creating the conditions that allowed healthier economies and societies to develop, “it has never guaranteed economic growth.”

Speaking at the opening of the plenary session this morning, Izhakoff said the World Diamond Council needed to rethink it role.

“Are we mainly a defensive instrument, dedicated to preventing conflict diamonds from infiltrating our legitimate business, or are we also a body that seeks to project the potential of the diamond business to improve the lives of ordinary people in the countries and regions in which we are active? I would suggest the latter,” he said.

He emphasized the organism he chairs was not established to protect the interests of the diamond and jewellery industries in the evolving campaign against conflict diamonds, “although it clearly was in our interest that conflict diamonds be eliminated from the face of this earth.”

Last month, London jeweller Ingle and Rhode, said the 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.

The Kimberley Process intercessional meeting will take place in Washington on June 4