a step back for responsible diamond sourcing
The new Kimberley Process Chair, Mathieu Lapfa Lambang Yamba of the Democratic Republic of Congo has apparently approved the export of controversial rough diamond exports from Zimbabwe’s Mbada and Canadile fields. As a representative of a country plagued with a terrible history of diamonds (and not to mention his recent stand on diamonds from the Ivory Coast), I am saddened by Yamba’s decision.
There is much opposition from the US and the EU, who both believe the decision was not taken through due process and therefore can not stand. The United States specifically warned several countries, including the UAE, South Africa, and India that they would publish the names of all those accepting these rough diamond shipments so that suppliers are aware of the parcels whose origin is Zimbabwe and therefore being KP non-compliant goods.
I am still investigating how quickly these questionable diamonds will make their way over to the US, if they haven’t already. Unfortunately many diamond suppliers choose not to even engage in the conversation, which lowers my faith not only in the Kimberley Process but the diamond industry as a whole. My pool of suppliers is becoming smaller and smaller as this story unfolds, as I choose to work with those who are transparent about responsible sourcing.
Unfortunately Mugabe’s government has chosen to exploit its natural resource and overlook human rights abuses in a bid for wealth and power. I am appalled the Kimberley Process has chosen to support Mugabe and the export of these tainted stones. I’d like to think that the KP has made great strides in the past, but has recently made me question their reason for existence.