Blood diamonds are diamonds mined in war-torn countries and sold to finance insurgencies or other conflict-related activities. This practice has been linked to at least four million deaths worldwide.
The international community responded to the issue by establishing the Kimberley Process. This joint effort between governments, retailers and NGOs has been successful in reducing the rate of conflict diamonds on the market.
They are mined in war-torn countries
Blood diamonds (also known as conflict diamonds) are mined by rebel forces that oppose internationally recognized governments. They are sold to fund the rebels’ military activities.
Since they are produced through forced labor, these diamonds can cause great harm to the people involved. For example, children are often sent to work in unsafe mining camps where they can get injured or become ill from working in pits filled with stagnant water.
These workers are also at risk of falling victim to sexual exploitation, which is a major contributor to the spread of HIV/AIDS.
In order to protect the human rights of these individuals, the United Nations launched the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme in 2002. But it is still difficult to guarantee that diamonds do not come from areas of conflict.
They are sold on black markets
Blood diamonds are those mined in conflict-torn areas, sold to fund insurgencies, invasion forces, or warlord endeavors. They are often smuggled to other countries or sold on the black market.
A 2006 film, Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, made headlines for shining a spotlight on the connection between the diamond industry and civil wars in Africa. The story highlighted the illicit trade of diamonds and how it fueled the Sierra Leone civil war.
The film was a success, and international concern over sourcing practices within the diamond industry rose. The UN and human rights groups joined forces with governments to set up the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), a system of export and import controls.
The scheme aims to stop revenue from diamonds being used to finance rebel groups by requiring all exporters to register their products with their respective governments. It has a long way to go before it can be considered successful, and certain countries have put their own interests ahead of the process.
They are smuggled into other countries
One of the most common ways that blood diamonds are smuggled into other countries is through trade with rebel groups in western Africa. This practice was particularly prominent in Sierra Leone during the civil wars, where rebels, including the RUF, mined diamonds and smuggled them across the border into Liberia in exchange for guns.
This is a devastating practice that has caused billions of dollars in lost revenue to these warring nations. In some cases, the smuggling of these gems has actually caused the United Nations to place sanctions on the countries that were involved.
The United States government is dedicated to safeguarding the international community and promoting a legitimate diamond trade. In order to do so, CBP enforces the Kimberley Process, which ensures that diamonds sold in the US are conflict-free and come from legitimate sources.
They are purchased by wealthy consumers
The ethical diamond rings trade is an incredibly dark reality that affects people and their families all over the world. Fortunately, modern consumers are much more aware of the implications of purchasing diamonds, and can purchase ethically sourced stones from reputable jewelers.
Blood diamonds are also referred to as conflict diamonds, and they are illegally traded to fund brutal wars in western Africa. These diamonds are mainly mined in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sierra Leone.
They are a direct result of civil wars in these countries that have destroyed communities, destroyed their economies, and left millions dead. In addition, they are a source of income for rebel groups that use bribes, threats, torture and murder to win the war.
Many wealthy consumers, including those in the United States, purchase blood diamonds and don’t realize they are supporting a destructive and repressive war that directly causes the death of millions of people. Thankfully, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme has helped to a large extent to curb the amount of blood diamonds that are traded on the market, but it’s still a problem.