Independent Media Centre Ireland

No Valentine for Kimberley Process

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | press release author Friday February 10, 2012 19:39author by Sean Clinton

No Valentine for blood diamond regulations as US chair of the Kimberley Process limits scope of reforms.

In her first conference call with journalists since becoming chair of the Kimberley Process (KP), US Ambassador, Gillian A. Milovanovic has moved to limit the scope of any reform of the KP definition of a “conflict diamond”. Ambassador Milovanovic said: “I do not foresee within the Kimberley Process, per se, going beyond the question of rough diamonds.”[1]


The KP was supposed to end the trade in blood diamonds - diamonds that fund human rights violations - but the narrow definition of a "conflict diamond" adopted by the KP allows diamonds that fund human rights violations by government forces to evade the regulations. As a result, last November, diamonds from the Marange area of Zimbabwe where government forces stand accused of gross human rights violations, including killing 200 people, were certified as KP compliant and allowed to contaminate the global market.

Human rights organisations walked out of a KP meting in Kinshasa last June and boycotted the annual plenary meeting in November over the failure of the KP to agree a reform of the definition of a "conflict diamond" that would include diamonds that fund human rights violations by government forces. In the wake of the KP decision last November to allow the export of blood-tainted diamonds from Zimbabwe, Global Witness, a London-based human rights organisation that was to the fore in bringing blood diamonds to public attention in the 90s withdrew from the KP that it helped to establish in 2003. While other human rights organisations remain inside the KP for the time being, Partnership Africa Canada has indicated that it does so in the expectation that tangible reforms of the KP definition of a "conflict diamond" will be agreed in 2012, and that the polishing industry, which currently evades the regulations, will be brought into the scheme.[2]

Therein stands the elephant in the KP room. Israel, a dominant player in the global diamond industry, is one of the world’s leading centres for cutting and polishing diamonds. The Israeli military stands accused by the UN Human Rights Council of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the three week assault on Gaza which killed more than 1400 people, including over 300 children in the winter of 2008/2009. In evidence to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, Israeli political economist, Shir Hever, testified that the diamond industry in Israel generates about $1 billion in funding for the Israeli military/security industry each year and when someone buys a diamond exported from Israel some of the money ends up funding the Israeli military[3].

US Ambassador Milovanovic will no doubt try to prevent any reform of the KP definition of a “conflict diamond” that would ensnare Israel’s diamond industry. However, human rights activists are upping the ante and last weekend were on the street in Hatton Garden, London – one of the world’s foremost diamond-trading hubs – to raise awareness with shoppers and jewellers about the trade in diamonds that fund human rights violations by government forces in Israel and Zimbabwe.[4] Further actions to alert shoppers prior to Valentine’s Day are scheduled to take place in Dublin, Ireland on Saturday. The ethical provenance of all diamonds remains suspect as long as jewellers continue to facilitate the trade in diamonds that fund gross human rights violations by government forces.


Sean Clinton,
Global Palestine Solidarity (GPS)

GPS is an internet-based global network of human rights activists who campaign to highlight the trade in Israeli diamonds – a major source of funding for the nuclear-armed Israeli military regime.

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Comments (2 of 2)

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author by Mike Novackpublication date Sat Feb 11, 2012 15:22author address author phone

The US may be far from a perfect democracy but it is a reasonable approximation. The way a democracy works, people get some say about the group decisions, get to influence those decsions. Especially with the forms of democracy common in the US which are less concerned with knowing which political faction is "responsible" for decisions than arranging for a sort of social negotiation whereby minority interests can get some of what they want if willing to trade support (goes by the name of "log rolling" -- you help me roll my log and I help you roll yours).

Well in the US the citizens who are "Zionists" get to vote too. While not a large percentage in the country overall even where they are sparse there is no gain from going against their desires. And they aren't distributed evenly The US is a federation of states and in about 1/4 of those states the "Zionists" are a higher pecentage of the population that the typical winning percentage in elections. Their influence is great because taken as a group there aren't other issues they feel strongly enouhg about that could be used to buy them off.

Understand? There are less Congressional Districts in the US where Arab-Americans have more influence than Zionist-Americans than you could count on the fingers of one hand. In practical terms that means the US will not support a boycott of Israel. IT COSTS VOTES. Nor do the Zionist-Americans ever forget (perhaps true of the Arab-Americans, but as I pointed out before, that is VERY few seats in Congress).

Remember, democracy, when working properly is not about making good, wise, just, etc. decsions. We can only judege whether or not democratic by whether the decisions made are what the people want, for good or ill. And by "want" I mean after all the horsetrading is done (not that a majority WANT each and every thing in the package but that they want the package, accepting some things in it they do not care for because of all the things in the pacjage that they want very badly).

For those of you to whom this seems like a strange conception for democracy, who expect a compact majority that actually wants everything in the package and expecs each item to be able to win a majority vote if considered all by itself in isolation from all other issues you need to understand something. The US system (and way of thinking ) is influenced by the belief that the society will be so diverse, so broken into a zillion small interests, that almost NOTHING would be wanted by a majority if considered in isolation. In other words, the assumption that only by interests bargaining with each other to mutually support the items that they really want can anything get a majority behind it.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Sat Feb 11, 2012 17:31author address author phone

But in practice Washington is deluged in corporate lobbyists laden with Greek(and the rest of us ripe PIGS) gifts and PACs(not least AIPAC)to ensure that the democratic arithmethic turns numerologically pliable.

And you didn't factor in Mad-is-on Ave, rat-fucking(Nixon's word for ballot stuffing), or the fact that(like Ireland et al) you can vote for a set of policies presented, and find the re-presentatives dont even deliver 2%.

At present democracy is of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporate sector, and given the economic(well really financial,i.e. false economics)criticality, all those tink tanks are swivelling their turrets into war-mode for a revisit of '29 extraction re-run.

Not a lot there of the people, by the people, for the people; or of Liberty(now read licence), Egalite(some being by virtue, or vice, of wallet more egal)or Fraternite..excepting p'r'aps ye ol' fraternal hatreds.

And when the corporate sector is feeding off quantative easing(run the pre$$e$)and Raytheon is headlining Wall Street...well all that esoteric theorising wont wash the haemoglobin off the rocks.

Thats no 'reasonable approximation', its a perversion of the peoples' will.

If you believe otherwise, you're mixing with the wrong peoples. Most people dont profit from the acts being perpetrated in the name of this twisted oligarchic and increasingly totalitarian corporate dictatorship.

On thje contrary, most of us stand to lose..not having bombproof bunkers to head for when the blowback hits our streets.

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