Civil Society Groups Urge Greater Gov­er­nance

Solitaire - - TECH TALK -

he di­a­mond in­dus­try con­tin­ues to be tainted by links be­tween di­a­monds, hu­man rights abuses and con­flict fi­nance, ac­cord­ing to a joint state­ment signed by a group of 14 civil society or­gan­i­sa­tions, in­clud­ing Amnesty In­ter­na­tional, Enough Project, Global Wit­ness, Zim­babwe En­vi­ron­men­tal Law As­so­ci­a­tion and Part­ner­ship Africa Canada.

The state­ment noted: “We the un­der­signed, who rep­re­sent a di­verse group of na­tional and in­ter­na­tional civil society or­gan­i­sa­tions, stand united in our ef­forts to break these links through a va­ri­ety of means and to en­sure that do­ing so re­mains a cen­tral con­cern for gov­ern­ments and in­dus­try en­gaged in the sec­tor.

“Col­lec­tively, we are deeply con­cerned by re­cent re­marks by the 2016 Kimberley Process (KP) chair di­rected at the KP Civil Society Coali­tion. Not only do these re­marks in­di­cate a dis­re­gard and lack of re­spect for the crit­i­cal role that civil society has played and con­tin­ues to play in the KP but they put at stake a cru­cial pil­lar of the KP’s tri-par­tite struc­ture. Any at­tempt to marginalis­e or si­lence civil society ei­ther in­di­vid­u­ally or col­lec­tively risks the foun­da­tion on which the KP is built.

“We wish to re­mind the di­a­mond in­dus­try, gov­ern­ments, and con­sumers of our se­ri­ous con­cerns re­gard­ing the di­a­mond sec­tor and the work that still needs to be done to ad­dress these long­stand­ing is­sues. These con­cerns are shared by the KP Civil Society Coali­tion as well as those of us work­ing out­side the scheme, in­clud­ing Amnesty In­ter­na­tional, Global Wit­ness, and the Enough Project. We will to­gether con­tinue to work on these is­sues in mul­ti­ple fo­rums, and con­tinue to wel­come en­gage­ment with con­cerned stake­hold­ers who share our in­ter­ests in see­ing mean­ing­ful progress on these is­sues.

“It is now close to 20 years since civil society or­gan­i­sa­tions first brought to light se­ri­ous con­cerns about the role of di­a­monds in fu­elling bru­tal con­flicts across Cen­tral and West Africa. This ef­fort led to a mul­ti­lat­eral, multi-stake­holder ne­go­ti­a­tion over the course of sev­eral years that led to the es­tab­lish­ment of the KP.

“Civil society played an es­sen­tial role through­out these ini­tial ne­go­ti­a­tions and has re­mained an in­te­gral part of the sys­tem

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