The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was established in 2003 with the goal of ending the trade in conflict diamonds (aka “blood diamonds”). While the issue of conflict diamonds has changed greatly since the 1990s, when reports first emerged linking the illicit sale of diamonds from Sierra Leone and Angola with funding paramilitary groups involved in then-ongoing African conflicts, the KPCS has failed to evolve.
Despite the Kimberley Process, diamonds continue to fund human rights abuses. Today, dictators like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe continue to profit from the “legitimate” trade of Kimberley Process-certified diamonds, and a large number of smuggled diamonds from various sources still enter the legitimate supply chain. For this reason, the industry-accepted standard of what defines a conflict diamond needs to be reexamined if constructive change is to be implemented and the illicit trade in diamonds ended.
At Leber Jeweler Inc we consider any diamond that has fueled bloodshed or contributed to human rights abuses to be a conflict diamond.
The Kimberley Process is failing to live up to its stated commitment to stem the flow of conflict diamonds. Today, millions of carats of diamonds have funded a variety of human rights abuses and offered financial rewards to criminal enterprises in countries ranging from sub-Saharan Africa to Lebanon to Venezuela. These same diamonds are finding their way into the United States and into the showcases of countless other jewelers, all with Kimberley Process approval. At Leber Jeweler Inc we offer certified Canadian-origin diamonds as a way of insuring the diamonds we sell are conflict-free.
As the first retail jeweler to speak out publicly against conflict diamonds in the 1990s, Leber Jeweler Inc. continues to maintain a strong stance in opposition to conflict diamonds in any form. We are still working toward an effective solution by directly engaging with the US government, the international community, civil society groups, and our own industry. Our objective is preventing any diamonds that have fueled or funded conflict from entering the legitimate global supply chain. The answers are not easy, and much work is required. Yet we believe that one day diamond resources will be a blessing and not a curse for the people of Africa.