What’s so special about diamonds anyways? • Diamonds are the hardest naturally forming material on Earth, renowned for their beauty, strength, and durability. They have been known and hoarded by humans for thousands of years, and their names from the Greek word for invincible.
HOW ARE DIAMONDS FORMED? • Diamonds come from deep within the Earth’s crust, at depths of around 150 kilometers! • Diamonds come to the surface of the Earth when magma travels upwards. • Most diamonds are over a billion years old by the time they reach the Earth’s surface!
60% of the world’s diamonds come from Africa • Sierra Leone • South Africa • Cote d’Ivoire • Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
The Sierra Leone Civil War (1991–2002) began on 23 March 1991 when the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), with support from the special forces of Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), intervened in Sierra Leone in an attempt to overthrow the Joseph Momoh government. The resulting civil war lasted 11 years, enveloped the country, and left over 50,000 dead.
During the first year of the war, the RUF took control of a large swathes of territory in eastern and southern Sierra Leone, which were rich in alluvial diamonds. The presence of diamonds in Sierra Leone invited and led to the civil war in several ways.
First, the highly unequal benefits resulting from diamond mining made ordinary Sierra Leoneans frustrated. Diamonds also helped to arm the Revolutionary United Front rebels. The RUF used funds harvested from the alluvial diamond mines to purchase weapons and ammunition from neighboring Guinea and Liberia.
The most significant connection between diamonds and war is that the presence of easily extractable diamonds provided an incentive for violence.
‘CONFLICT’ DIAMONDSaka:‘BLOOD’ DIAMONDS • Conflict diamonds are diamonds mined in a war zone. • The diamonds are sold illegally to finance the war efforts of rebel groups.
Blood Diamonds are often produced through the forced labor of men, women and children.
300,000 children in Africa have been forced to become child soldiers and commit horrible crimes on behalf of rebel groups seeking to control the diamond mines.