The Human Rights Debate within the Kimberly ProcessJune 18, 09
An estimated 200 officials representing 73 countries participating in the Kimberley Process (KP) will convene in Namibia next week for its “intersessional meeting.” During the meeting, six different working groups and committees will address an array of issues. Debates will range from minor items, such as whether public warnings should be issued for fake KP certificates, to major, earth-shaking items, such as a proposal on expanding the scheme’s mandate.
Outside of the working sessions and reports by the KP chairman, the scheduled plenary meeting (covering the “really important issues”) will focus on Zimb
While the Venezuelan government has suspended itself from the KP, it is simultaneously collecting fees from issuing diamond-mining leases to many diggers’ cooperatives. International trading centers might be jealous of the active and thriving diamond trade on the Venezuelan side of the border in the region that includes neighboring Brazil and Guyana. There is neither a recession nor a credit crunch there; the region has turned into a “Kimberley-Offshore,” where one can trade as one pleases. What the PAC article omitted, however, is that some countries don’t want to jeopardize their political and diplomatic relations with Venezuela – certainly not for something as mundane and irrelevant as a few smuggled diamonds.
Fake, Counterfeit, Forged or Bought KP Certificates
It is not just the Venezuela issue that is ruining the KP’s reputation and effectiveness. The chairman of the KP, the amic
Then comes the operational part: “In order to protect the KPCS against the use of fake or forged KP certificates, it is therefore recommended that: Participants should examine KP certificates and, upon detection of fake certificates, Participants should liaise with the issuing country for confirmation; and specimen copies of the fake certificates, after removing the names of companies/individuals and clearly indicating that the certificates are specimen copies, may be uploaded for information of all Participants on the KP website and/or through KP Chair notice.”
This innocuous (and almost self-evident) proposal is nevertheless missing the point. It is the “political correctness” of the KP that wants to remove governmental responsibility by l
This is the real problem – but it is not politically correct to bring up because it implies corruption within the ranks of the Participating Countries. By not confronting the “real” issues, the KP will become increasingly discredited and ineffective. Incidentally, why should fake certificates only be circulated after removing the names of companies/individuals listed on them?
The KP chair talks
Enlarging the Mandate: Including Human Rights
Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen told Zimb
Those who supposedly protect in the name of government are the very people who steal, smuggle, violate human rights and shoot each other as well. In Zimb
Let’s also have a look at Angola: it was reported this week that, so far this year, Angolan police have deported more than 6,000 foreigners who were caught digging for diamonds illegally in the country's northeastern region of Lunda Norte. Based on experience, this “removal” of people also carries a human toll. Let’s hope that KP Participants will ask
Let’s not kid ourselves. While we have human rights problems in producer countries, we also have them in cutting and trading centers and in consumer markets. Human rights violations are depressing universal phenomena. NGO Global Witness – apparently with the support of the US Kimberley Advisor – will raise a proposal next week in Namibia to widen the mandate of the KP and its controls over the diamond trade.
It is suggested to add the following wording to the KP’s Operational Document: “The Kimberley Process shall promote respect for human rights as described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and shall require their effective recognition and observance in the diamond industries of participating countries, and among the peoples, institutions and territories under their jurisdiction.”
There is not a decent person in the world who would argue against the importance of respecting human rights – just as everyone wholeheartedly supports hunger-alleviation campaigns or fights against human trafficking. These are all universal principles, which are so self-evident that one does not need to argue
The question is whether the KP should become the vehicle to advance human rights causes, which we all unequivocally endorse and support. But if so, we have to think what the ramifications are for the industry and the KP.
Can a country in which journalists are poisoned to death and diamond traders are jailed on trumped up charges without due legal process stay in the KP? Can a country in which indigenous Bushmen complain
Who is going to draw the line? The Kimberley Plenary – which only operates on an unrealistic “consensus” basis? And where will the line be drawn? If the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights will become part of the core KP mandate, something the United States now seems to be favoring, then in the first KP Plenary Session, countries producing together between one and two thirds of the world production will be kicked out of the KP. That’s an interesting way to kill off the scheme.
What the KP Really Needs…
In all honesty, we don’t b
There is so much to do to clean up the KP well before contemplating widening the mandate. For instance, if the smugglers of Venezuela can use Guyana, Panama and Brazil to have the smuggled diamonds certified, the KP should take action – against all these nations. Regarding Guinea and Lebanon, the KP should start doing something tangible. The KP should clamp down on the black market that deals in legitimate KP certificates. Actions should also be taken against those countries that provide “collection points” for extorting money within the KP bureaucracy.
It is useless to bring up new principles or a widened mission in an organization that has proven not to be equipped to effectively manage a more limited mission.
Have a nice weekend.