Reform is high on the agenda of this year’s Kimberley Process Plenary under EU Chairmanship. The Kimberley Process – once a pioneering tripartite effort to stop diamonds from financing rebel groups – is struggling to provide an adequate answer to numerous human rights challenges associated with the diamond sector today.
Aware of these enormous challenges, it was decided at the 2017 Plenary meeting in Brisbane to set in motion a two-year reform exercise to tackle important issues such as strengthening the scope of the KP, setting up a dedicated secretariat to support its activities and establishing a voluntary trust fund to ensure its functioning.
A central question on the table this week is how to broaden the definition of conflict diamonds beyond the limited and outdated scope of rough diamonds financing rebel movements that undermine legitimate governments. In this light the CSC has, together with Industry (World Diamond Council), supported Canada on a realistic proposal for a new definition that captures important concerns such as systematic and widespread violence, and illicit financing of private and public security forces. We believe that the adoption of this proposal is a logical step in rejuvenating the KP and adapting it to the requirements of a changing environment. Beyond this initiative, the CSC will keep pushing for a broader consideration of human rights violations and environmental harm in the KP system.
“Time has now come for all participants and observers to walk the talk in order to avoid the Kimberley Process from becoming irrelevant and incredible in a world where responsible sourcing is ever more the order of the day”, said Shamiso Mtisi, Chair of the KP CSC. “Participating states must take their shared responsibility in answering the call from the UN General Assembly, in a Resolution of 7 March 2018, to strengthen the KP to better face challenges of instability and conflict and contribute to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. This plenary, with its focus on reform, provides the stage for Participants to express their commitment to guarantee consumers that the diamonds they produce or trade are not stained with blood. The KP Civil Society Coalition, representing thousands in mining affected communities, calls on them to seize this moment to prove the Kimberley Process is fit for purpose.”
The World Diamond Council is very vocal on the need to reform in this plenary. Civil Society Coalition will support WDC in its efforts to agree on an improved diamond definition and its call for change. The KP civil society coalition calls upon industry to act upon its commitment to change, both in this plenary and in its own conduct and instruments, including its renewed System of Warranties.
“In all of this, let us make sure, in the words of EU foreign policy chief Mogherini in January of this year, that the Kimberley Process is fully part of our work for sustainable development, sustainable peace and human rights.”, concludes Shamiso Mtisi.
Shamiso Mtisi, coordinator of the KP Civil Society Coalition, +263 7 742 169 56