The effects of conflict and blood diamonds

Written by suzanna hulmes
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The effects of conflict and blood diamonds
Once a diamond reaches the market, it is almost impossible to tell its origin. (huge diamond image by sumos from Fotolia.com)

The terms "conflict diamonds" and "blood diamonds" refer to diamonds that have been mined and traded for the purpose of supporting conflict, according to the United Nations. The Kimberley Process, put in place in December 2000 and supported by a number of African diamond production companies, ensures that conflict-free diamonds can now be identified by a certificate of legitimacy. Although African countries such as Sierra Leone and Angola are now at peace and have virtually eliminated illegal diamond trading, blood diamonds still count for one per cent of the world's diamond market.

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Rebel Groups

The money made in the trading of blood diamonds goes to support rebel groups who aim to take control of an area by force, working outside of the recognised government. This can lead to aggressive civil war in affected areas, with money funding the trading of firearms and other weapons, according to Amnesty International USA.

Suffering of Civilians

According to Amnesty International USA, between 50,000 and 75,000 civilians were executed during the hostile takeover of diamond-rich Sierra Leone in 1991, and a further 20,000 civilians suffered amputations of the hands, arms, legs, ears and lips. This was carried out to make a stand against the president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, after he appealed for the people to "join hands in peace." Rebel groups have also been known to kidnap children, to train them as soldiers.

Preventing Development

According to the United Nations, the trading of blood diamonds will only aid in the prevention of economic development in the affected countries. Without the conflict caused by the illegal trading of diamonds, countries have the potential to build infrastructure, with legitimate diamond-producing companies becoming more successful.

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