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Conflict Diamonds. History Conflict Resolution. DeBeers: Industry Giant. Founded by Cecil Roads in 1888. “Our only risk is the sudden discovery of new mines, which human nature will work recklessly to the detriment of us all.”

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Conflict Diamonds

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Conflict Diamonds




DeBeers: Industry Giant

  • Founded by Cecil Roads in 1888. “Our only risk is the sudden discovery of new mines, which human nature will work recklessly to the detriment of us all.”

  • At one time owned about 90% of all world diamonds. Today that figure is much lower (between 40-50%).

  • Still the industry giant and sales run through DTC (Diamond Trading Company). Revenue of $8.6 Billion last year.

  • Advertising campaigns started in the late 40’s have proven very profitable.

  • Hold 10 sights a year and you must be an invited sight-holder to purchase rough diamonds.

  • Accused of price-fixing by controlling supply and demand.

Conflict Diamonds, blood diamonds, war diamonds, or dirty diamonds,

“is a diamond that is mined in a war zone and used to finance that war effort by either group of combatants.”

Throughout the 80/90s rough diamonds that became known as conflict diamonds fueled severe conflicts and humanitarian crises in countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola.

Civil War in Sierra: March 23, 1991 – January 18th 2002

Attempt by the RUF to overthrow the Joseph Momoh government.

Battled with the Sierra Leone Army (SLA)

1995: Executive Outcomes, a South African Private Military Co.

1997: Operation Pay Yourself, RUF join with part of the SLA.

1999: Lome Peace Accords, Sanko given VP and diamond mines.

2002: Jan. 18th - President Kabbah declares the war over.

Revolutionary United Front

  • Rebel group (1991-2007) became a political party that disbanded in 2007.

  • Recruited thousands of child soldiers to fight the civil war backed by diamonds.

  • Notorious for severing the limbs of those victims it did not murder. Due to an election slogan of a political leader, “the power is in your hands”.

  • The British sent a small professional force in 2001 to put final end to RUF. Operation Palliser was sent as an evacuation mission. Gen David Richards does otherwise.

  • UN documents Al Qaeda reaped millions of dollars from 1998-2001. Weapons for Diamonds transactions.

Foday Sankoh

  • Leader and founder of the RUF.

  • March 23, 1991 attacked first diamond mine backed by Charles Taylor

  • Responsible for “Operation Pay Yourself”

  • Broke many Peace accords; 1996 Abidjan, and 1999 Lome.

  • Indicted on 17 counts for various war crimes; crimes against humanity, rape, sexual slavery, extermination, enslavement, etc.

  • 2003, dies on heart complications while awaiting trial.

"No More Slaves, No More Masters. Power and Wealth to the People."

Charles Taylor

  • Liberia’s president from 1997-2003.

  • Once Africa’s most prominent warlord’s.

  • Sankoh traded conflict diamonds to fuel civil war.

  • Backs the National Patriotic Front of Liberia to control Liberia.

  • Supplied new leader of RUF when Sankoh went into exile in 1997.

  • Verdict announced April 2012 – 50 years for numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Ishmael Beah

  • Family killed during civil war and Ishmael is abducted by RUF.

  • Age 13 years old.

  • Rescued by UNICEF in 1994 and fights for government army 1998.

  • Goes to school in UN International School, New York.

  • Graduated in 2004 in the field of politics.

  • "If I choose to feel guilty for what I have done, I will want to be dead myself”

  • Currently works for Human Rights Watch in Brooklyn.

  • In December2000, the United Nations General Assembly

  • adopted a resolution supporting the creation of an

  • international certification scheme for rough diamonds. In

  • November 2002, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme

  • (KPCS) was created to help stop the flow of these rough

  • diamonds used to support war. The US enacted the Clean

  • Diamond Trade Act (CDTA) in April 2003 to help strengthen

  • the KPCS.

Although the United States is not a producer of rough diamonds, it is a huge global trader of diamonds and the world’s largest consumer market for diamond jewelry. In 2003, the US was the seventh largest exporter of rough diamonds among countries that do not mine rough diamonds (exporting about $227 million worth), and the fifth largest exporter of polished diamonds.

Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS)

  • The Kimberley Process is a joint government, international diamond industry and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds. 45 countries are Participants who can only trade diamonds with other Participants who have met the minimum requirements of the certification scheme.

The KPCS require participating members to:

Unfortunately the General Accounting Office’s September 2006 report on conflict diamonds still suggests that while trade in illegal rough diamonds have reduced significantly, from a 3 million carat discrepancy in 2003 to less then 300,000 discrepancy in 2005, that because physical inspections are done irregularly the US can not be sure that conflict diamonds are not still reaching the markets in the US.

ConclusionsAccording to the World Diamond Council conflict diamonds had been reduced to 3.06% of world production by 1999, and by 2004 it had been reduced to about 1%

At the present time the civil conflict in Sierra Leone and other diamond producing African countries involved with conflict diamonds have now ended their armed conflict, but for how long? And the flow of these diamonds, while greatly reduced, have not completely disappeared. And most of these countries still have yet to rebuild from their bloody “civil war” to a point where they are economically able to support their own population.

ArtistMoses SilmaTitle  Bloody Wednesday Image DimensionsPhysical Dimensions  28" x 24"Medium  paint on Paper Date  1/1/2001. The title provided by the Artist for this work is "The January 6, 1999 combined RUF SLA Forces attack on Freetown. (Bloody Wednesday)"

?ArtistOsman Tuzy  KamasonTitle  Butchering A Pregnant WomanIn 1995, Rebel fighters attacked Blama, an Eastern provincial town of Sierra Leone. At the house of one Pa Sayor, lived an eight month old pregenant woman. Seeing the pregnant woman, the rebels bet to tell if the child was a boy or girl. The beat Pa Sayo mercilessly and threw him on the floor with hands tied behind his back. The pregnant woman belly was split open and the child removed by one of the rebels. What else could be that horrific

ArtistMarcoh S. ContehTitle  DoomsdayJanuary 6, 1999 when rebels overan Freetown. People, especially women suffered in their hands. Most of the rebels had white badanas on thier heads deceiving the public of being Government soldiers. Matchetes and axes were used in chopping off people's limbs. Children were not spared. This holocaust will forever remain in the minds of Sierra Leoneans.

ArtistSimeon Benedict SesayTitle  Horrors of WarHorrors Of War gives an insight into some of the despicable terror that was unleashed on innocent civilians by an armed few. Young girls were forcefully taken from their parents to be used as sex slaves, domestic servants and spies for the fighters whilest valuable properties were carted away.Also, during the ten years of war scores of unarmed civilians were massacred almsot on a daily basis. Women and children were amputated without reason. Villages were attacked and many women, children and the elderly were killed. People were set ablaze in their cars and houses because they refuse to give money or other goods requested by the armed combatants.

ArtistOsman Tuzy  KamasonTitleLost Bondo GirlsIt was Sunday morning at about 4 am in the year 1996 when a group of Revolutionary United Front Rebels attacked the town of mile 91. The town is called mile 91 because it is exactly 91 miles to the capital city, Freetown. This town, like many others happens to have a sacred bush dedicated to the womens society, the bondo. There was a belief that any man that wanders to this bush will either die or end up with a disease that swells the scrotum.Three rebels have wondered into the Bush and met the young girls with their elder, the Sowei who happens to also be the head of the society. The Commander asked the Sowei to surrender the girls into their hands. She refused. He asked accomplices to take two of the girls aways. The Sowei resisted and was immediately shot dead. This frightened the girls and made them succumbed to the wishes of the rebels. With their hands tied behind the backs they were rapped and molested by the rebels. Eventually, they were all taken away and only one escaped to retell their ordeal.It is this story that artist, Tuzy Kamason recalls in the "Lost Bondo Girls."

ArtistMichael P. SilmaTitleMassive Killer - Cut Hand Cut FootAt the height of rebel amputations, a ruthless rebel leader named Massive Killer (Cut Hand Cut Foot) emerged. He hardly used his riffle or gun. None was spared in his pressence - children as well as pregnant women. One of Massive Killers victims, a pregnant woman brought to Caunaught Hospital asked the doctors to let her die after giving birth. The doctors refused but she died after delivery.The painting shows a dog licking the blood on an amputee while a child combatant stand guard behind a tree watching the villagers find their way to safety.

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