Diamonds in War and Peace

The ethereal quality of diamonds has been the reason for a lot of conflict around the world, especially in Africa. As people began to realize the qualities of diamonds, its importance and price soared up and demand for the precious gemstone led to illegal mining and smuggling of diamonds.

Diamond Mining To Finance Wars

diamond mining

Peaceful diamond mining in Africa gradually transformed in the 20th century as the rebel armies realized the value of diamonds and the fact that they can be traded for arms and ammunitions, which can be utilized to terrorize the states.

The states of Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire, Angola, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Angola had been torn by war over diamonds. Farmers were forced to work as prisoners on their own land searching for diamonds in their farms that had been converted into diamond mines. They were shot by the rebels for disobedience or under productivity. In 1999, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and the government of Sierra Leone signed the Lomé Peace Accord ending a decade long era of violence.

Peace Movements for Diamond Mining

diamond mines

Diamond producing states of South Africa held a meeting on May 2000 in Kimberley, South Africa to find a solution to the growing concern over “blood diamonds”. The goal of the meeting was to prohibit the purchase or sale of diamonds from the areas of conflict to restore peace in the regions.

In December of 2000, the UN General Assembly announced the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) as a solution wherein the certificates will indicate the point of origin of the diamonds. This was considered as an important step towards the eradication of conflict-diamonds.

While people still find ways of bringing conflict-diamonds to the market, illegal mining and smuggling has seen a decline and African states have been able to resume peace in most of the regions.

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