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munity to convene a meeting of international experts to focus on the trade and certification process in the Mano River Union countries.
The Government of Liberia assures you of its continued commitment to the pursuit of peace and stability both at home and in the subregion and welcomes the convening of this Summit with hope and anticipation for the evolution of solutions that will make our world a safer place for our children.
Finally, I wish to request that you kindly circulate the present letter to all members of the Security Council as a document of the Council.
DAHKPANNAH DR. CHARLES GHANKAY TAYLOR
DIAMOND DEALERS CLUB, INC.
September 19, 2000
I am pleased to have the opportunity to offer our comments regarding the hearing on trade in African diamonds convened by the Subcommittee on Trade of the Committee on Ways and Means that was held on September 13, 2000.
The Diamond Dealers Club is a trade association of diamond dealers, brokers and manufacturers established in 1931. Since the founding of our organization, we have been located in New York City. Our nearly 2,000 members come from more than 30 different countries and are importers of the overwhelming percentage of diamonds that enter the United States. Our By-Laws embody our founders recognition of our organization's key goal “to cooperate with governmental encies." The following comments are presented with this goal in mind.
As mutilations of civilians and severe civil rights violations occurring in certain civil wars in Africa became more frequent, we became increasingly appalled. Particularly alarming to the diamond industry was the news that diamonds, which enter the world diamond market from these countries, are responsible for these violations and are used to finance civil wars. Therefore, beginning in 1999, we devoted considerable attention to resolving the problem of conflict diamonds. We have met and worked with members of the U.S. Congress, representatives of foreign governments and industry leaders to come up with an effective solution to this problem.
Our commitment to eliminating the sale of conflict diamonds is evident. Our membership-elected Board of Directors adopted the following resolution to battle the sale of conflict diamonds: “Dealing in conflict diamonds shall constitute conduct unbecoming of a member for which suspension shall be instituted."
The Diamond Dealers Club supports the resolution adopted by the World Diamond Congress on July 19, 2000. We believe that the effective implementation of this proposal would go a long way towards eliminating the problem of conflict diamonds and their use to purchase arms and finance civil wars.
Clearly, the WFDB proposals would benefit both the diamond-producing nations as well as the American industry. Their strict implementation would mean that instead of diamonds being used to finance the death and destruction of innocent civilians, they would provide—as they have in such countries as South Africa and Botswana-employment for tens of thousands of Africans as well as encourage economic development in diamond-producing nations.
Concomitantly, we feel that proposals that could lead to a boycott of diamonds would be harmful to the entire diamond industry. This includes the miners and governments in the producing nations that have benefited from these resources as well as the small business dominated diamond industry in several countries including the United States.
We hope that the Subcommittee finds these comments useful in its deliberations on the subject of trade in African diamonds. We look forward to working with you to resolve the problem of conflict diamonds. If you have any requests for additional information from the Diamond Dealers Club, please do not hesitate to contact us. Sincerely,
Statement of Mary Diaz, Executive Director, Women's Commission for
Refugee Women and Children, New York, New York The Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children is an expert resource and advocacy organization working to improve conditions for refugee women and children around the world. The Women's Commission has sponsored several fact finding missions in West Africa, including Sierra Leone, Liberia and Angola over the past five years and released a report assessing the protection and assistance needs of Sierra Leonean children and adolescents. As part of a campaign to monitor the situation in Sierra Leone, the Women's Commission has supported local women's organizations, who are working to rebuild their country. THE FOLLOWING QUESTION AND ANSWER PIECE WAS INITIALLY PREPARED TO RAISE
AWARENESS AMONG CONSUMERS ABOUT THE PROBLEM OF CONFLICT DIAMONDS AND
TO PROMOTE POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS. Diamonds: Symbols of Love or War?
Questions and Answers 1. Why should I be concerned about diamonds?
Diamonds from Sierra Leone, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been used by rebel groups to purchase weapons and commit unspeakable atrocities against civilian populations. In Sierra Leone, with the aim of conquering diamond-rich areas and securing the mines for themselves, rebels have used machetes to brutally chop off the limbs of women, children, and even babies. They have forcibly recruited and drugged child soldiers. They have also abducted thousands of women and young girls as sex slaves who are often beaten and gang-raped. This violence has displaced almost a million people within Sierra Leone, created 460,000 refugees in neighboring countries and abroad, and left thousands of children disabled by dismemberment and mutilation. American consumers bụy about 65 percent of diamonds worldwide, and while diamonds are usually regarded as symbols of love and commitment, diamonds mined from conflict areas are actually a source of hor
2. How can the United States play a leadership role in stopping diamond fueled conflict?
The US can play a leadership role by enacting the Consumer Access to a Responsible Accounting of Trade (CARAT) Act. Currently, there is no way of guaranteeing where diamonds sold in the US, or anywhere else in the world, originate. The CARAT Act would require the diamond industry to provide US consumers with information about whether a diamond for sale originated from a conflict area. The Consumer Access to a Responsible Accounting of Trade Act, otherwise known as the CARAT Act (HR 3188) was introduced by Congressman Tony Hall (D-OH) and Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) in November of 1999. A revised version will be introduced this September. This bipartisan legislation acknowledges that some diamonds fuel Africa's wars and seeks to give Americans crucial information about the diamonds they buy. 3. What are conflict diamonds?
Conflict diamonds are diamonds mined or stolen by rebel forces who are fighting the legitimate and internationally recognized government of that country. Currently, these conflict diamonds are mined in Sierra Leone, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They are often smuggled out of these countries and into neighboring countries such as Liberia and the Ivory Coast. The latter have negligible diamond resources themselves but sell millions of US dollars worth of diamonds to trade centers around the world. Liberia's illicit diamond trade is widely recognized by diamond industry experts; to illustrate, Liberian diamond mining capacity is only about 100,000 to 150,000 carats per year but the country has exported over six million carats annually. 4. Can the American consumer help break the cycle of violence in the illegal diamond trade?
Yes. The Women's Commission has joined a broad based coalition of non-governmental and humanitarian assistance organizations that are committed to educating consumers about the illegal diamond trade and providing information that will allow consumers to make informed diamond purchases. Independent diamond experts have estimated that about 10–15 percent of the world's supply of diamonds are from conflict areas in Africa. Although this is a relatively small percentage of the overall diamond market, it is significant because the diamonds from these conflict countries are largely gem quality diamonds. Gem quality diamonds are the most valuable portion of the diamond market and constitute 75 percent of the diamond profit. Because rebels are able to sell diamonds throughout the world at a large profit, they are able to sustain the wars in these countries. Therefore, it is imperative that consumers know where their diamonds are from in order to make informed purchasing decisions and eliminate these conflict diamonds from the market. 5. Are all diamonds from conflict areas?
No. In fact, diamonds from Africa can have a very positive effect on those countries with legitimate diamond industries and cutting centers. In Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, the diamond industry has bolstered the economies, making them among the most prosperous and stable countries in Africa. Diamond cutting centers in India and Israel employ large numbers of people. If you buy a diamond from these areas, you will actually be supporting a vital industry. We are not advocating for a total boycott of diamonds because this would prove detrimental to these vital legitimate industries. Rather, informed consumers can do the responsible thing by buying legitimate diamonds and avoiding conflict diamonds. 6. What can be done to end the trade in conflict diamonds?
• Support the CARAT Act (HR 3188) that would provide consumers with information about where their diamonds originate;
• Educate consumers about diamonds that fuel Africa's wars, such as those from Sierra Leone, and those from legitimate diamond industries, such as Botswana;
• Demand that every diamond be accompanied by full forgery-proof documentation of the country of origin, not just the place of purchase or export;
• Support government regulation to bring transparency to diamond transactions such as through Customs offices that employ statistical procedures to identify the number of carats exported from a particular country and ensure that the export number is consistent with that country's mining capacity;
• Support technology for diamond "fingerprinting” to reliably determine the origin of diamonds. This research was compiled based in part on information from the following sources:
Ashton, Hilton. “Technical Forum on the Issue of “Conflict Diamonds," summary by BOE Securities of "Conflict Diamonds—Maintaining Consumer Confidence, forum held May 11-12, 2000 in Kimberley, South Africa. May 25, 2000.
De Beers Mining Company. “De Beers: U.S. Congressional Hearings,” Written testimony before the US Congress, House Subcommittee on Africa, hearing on “Conflict Diamonds.” May 9, 2000.
Global Witness. “Conflict Diamonds: Possibilities for the Identification, Certification, and Control of Diamonds." May 10, 2000.
Harden, Blaine. “Africa's Gems: Warfare's Best Friend." The New York Times on the Web, April 6, 2000.
Rapaport, Martin. “Guilt Trip.” April 7, 2000. Available at www.diamonds.net
Smillie, lan, Lansana Gberie and Ralph Hazleton. “The Heart of the Matter: Sierra Leone, Diamonds, and Human Security.” Partnership Africa Canada, January 2000. Other useful sources:
Collier, Paul. “Economic Causes of Civil Conflict and their Implications for Policy.” World Bank. June 15, 2000.
Fowler, Robert R. “Report of the Panel of Experts on Violations of Security Council Sanctions Against UNITA.” Report to the United Nations Security Council. March 10, 2000.
Global Witness. “A Crude Awakening: The Role of the Oil and Banking Industries in Angola's Civil War and the Plunder of State Assets.” January 2000.
Global Witness. "A Rough Trade: The Role of Companies and Governments in the Angolan Conflict.” December 1998.
Kempster, Norman. “Dripping in Diamonds—and Blood.” Los Angeles Times. May 12, 2000.
National Intelligence Council. “Africa: The Economics of Insurgency in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sierra Leone.” Report from State Department conference on October 5, 1999. October 1999.
Rapaport, Martin. “Blood Money.” Rapaport Corporation. November 5, 1999. Available at www.diamonds.net
“Report of the Panel of Experts on Violations of Security Council Sanctions Against UNITA” Report to the United Nations Security Council. March 10, 2000.
Statement of Rory E. Anderson, Government Relations Manager, and Africa
Policy Specialist, World Vision Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to present testimony to the Trade Subcommittee on solutions to the "conflict diamond” trade in Africa. I am Rory E. Anderson, Government Relations Manager and Africa policy specialist for World Vision, the largest privately-funded international relief and development organization in the U.S. Later this month World Vision will celebrate its 50th anniversary. Currently, World Vision implements more than 6,000 relief, rehabilitation and longterm development projects in 95 countries.
Natural resources, from diamonds to oil, have a significant role in igniting and fueling human conflict. In Africa, the shape of Post-Cold War conflict has increasingly been financed and perpetuated by natural resources, which conveniently do not demand any ideological loyalty. The May 4th capture of UN peacekeepers in Sierra Leone has brought widespread scrutiny to the causes of this 9-year conflict, and has forced policymakers at all levels to ask why war seems intractable in many parts of Africa. In the recent conflicts of Sierra Leone, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, diamonds are at the heart of the matter, and access to this and other resources have become a primary incentive for war.
CONFLICT DIAMONDS DEFINED There are various nuanced definitions of the term “conflict diamonds.” In this testimony, I attempt to describe both potential as well as current situations where the sale of diamonds are used to sustain violent conflict. As defined here, conflict diamonds are those which originate from areas under the control of forces that are in opposition to democratically elected and internationally recognized governments, 13 or diamonds used by State institutions or non-State forces to fund campaigns of human rights abuses against civilians. Many critics of the term "conflict diamonds” argue that diamonds don't kill people, rather, people and guns kill. But in each of the above cases, diamonds fund the purchase of small arms which perpetuate conflict. Diamonds are lucrative stones. In 1998 the diamond industry produced an estimated 115 million carats of rough diamonds with a market value of US$6.7 billion. At the end of the diamond pipeline, this was converted into 67.1 million pieces of jewelry worth close to US$50 billion. 14 At both ends of the diamond pipeline—from mine to finger-there are huge financial incentives. Further, diamonds are easily smuggled. To the untrained eye, rough diamonds look like mere pebbles, which can innocently be wedged in a shoe, sock, or any kind of body orifice, and can go undetected through most metal detectors or X-ray machines.
The most visible examples of diamonds and their role in conflict have been in Sierra Leone, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In all three of these cases, guaranteed access to the diamond mines has been a dominant incentive for war, and, ironically, war has enabled the diamond industry to prosper. Because diamonds can move so easily and quickly, a dealer can buy low, sell high and reap windfall profits, particularly during the height of a war. For the seemingly intractable wars of Sierra Leone, Angola and the DRC, the point of each of these wars may not be to actually win them, but to engage in profitable crime under the cover of warfare. Over the years, the informal diamond mining sector, long dominated by what might be called "disorganized crime,” has now become increasingly influenced by organized crime and by the transcontinental smuggling of diamonds, guns, drugs, and vast sums of money in search of a laundry. Each of these smuggled items has become critical components to warfare, and thus, violence becomes central to the advancement of those with vested interests. 15
13 Conflict Diamonds: Possibilities for the Identification, Certification and Control of Diamonds, briefing document by Global Witness, June 2000, p. 1.
14 Smillie, I., Gberie, L., Hazelton, R. The Heart of the Matter: Sierra Leone Diamonds and Human Security, Partnership Africa Canada, Ottawa, Canada: January 2000, p. 1.
15 Smillie et al, p.1.
CONFLICT DIAMONDS IN AFRICA In the current deliberations on conflict diamonds there have been fewer references to the DRC, yet diamonds from this area are equally problematic. Several warring factions, including the rebel government and multiple international armed forces who all desire access to the DRC's mineral resources, have wrecked a humanitarian crisis that is quickly outpacing the enormity of the Sudan. This factor, coupled with gross human rights abuses committed among all factions, warrants the label of conflict diamond for any stone originating from the DRC. In Sierra Leone, two inseparable factors have enabled the violence to perpetuate. A legacy of decades of official corruption-much of which was rooted in the diamond trade-has left remnants of a weakened State unable to defend its territory from internal and external threats, which has resulted in the breakdown of law and order. This absence of national security has expanded the economic opportunity of conflict diamonds.
In Angola, political power implies a license for kleptocracy over the country's resources. Rather than accept the 1992 elections which foreign observers judged free and fair, UNITA (Union for the Total Independence of Angola) rebel leader Jonas Savimbi simply resumed his war by seizing control of the Cuango River Valley, Angola's richest diamond territory. UNITA began a major mining operation that made them the richest rebels in Africa. Diamond money paid for UNITA offensives that in the 1990s elevated Angola's civil war to a new plateau of savagery, killing more than half a million, displacing 4 million, and maiming 90,000 as a result of land mines. 16
THE HUMANITARIAN IMPACT For every conflict diamond sold, there is a corresponding humanitarian crisis. It has been said that Angola is the worst place to be a child. Thirty percent of Angolan children die before they reach their fifth birthday. 17 As of April 2000, a total of 3.7 million people were classified as “war affected” by the UN, defined as “those who depend on emergency humanitarian assistance due to war and the resultant loss of assets and earning opportunities.” 18 Of these, over 1.7 million are displaced, threequarters of whom are women and children.19 One-hundred and fifty thousand (150,000) people are estimated to have either been killed or permanently maimed due to landmine accidents.20 Two-thirds of the Angolan population live in absolute poverty.
In the DRC, it has been found that since August 1998 there has been at least 1.7 million deaths in war-affected areas over and above the 600,000 that would normally be expected. The overwhelming majority of these additional deaths are attributable to preventable diseases and malnutrition-a tragic consequence of a health care system destroyed by war. On average, some 2,600 people are dying every day, and further research is finding that the first months of the year 2000 were even worse than 1999.21 Thirty four percent of these deaths have been children under the age of five (over 590,000), and 47 percent of all violent, war-related deaths are women and children. The highest death rates are among populations displaced by the fighting, and civilians continue to be targeted by all sides in the conflict. As one NGO leader has explained this: “The loss of life in the Congo has been staggering, It's as if the entire population of Houston was wiped off the face of the earth in a matter of months.” 22
Ranked last on the UN Human Development Index, the war in Sierra Leone has exacted a heavy humanitarian toll on the population. An estimated 70,000 people have been killed since the war started in 1991. Approximately 5,000 were killed in and around Freetown in the January 1999 rebel offensive against the capital. Civilian and child amputations have been a trademark atrocity, with estimates of 1,800 amputees. Currently, almost 1 million Sierra Leonians are internally displaced, in addition to the 470,000 refugees who have fled to neighboring Guinea and Liberia. Thirty percent (30 percent) of Sierra Leone's population of 4.6 million have been uprooted because of this conflict. Humanitarian response continues to be hampered by the issue of access to war-affected populations trapped in the northern and eastern
16 “Africa's Diamond Wars," Harden, B. The New York Times on the Web, www.nytimes.com/ library/world/africa/040600africa-diamonds.html.
17 UN Secretary General's report to UN Security Council, 23 November 1998.
21 Mortality in Eastern DRC: Results from Five Mortality Surveys, International Rescue Committee Report, May 2000.