Civil Society Groups Urge Greater Governance
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