International human rights group, Amnesty International has said, trade in ‘blood diamond’ is a source of conflict and human rights abuse in the Central African Republic (CAR). Leading traders, Amnesty International says have been buying diamonds without properly checking their origins. As a result, it has called on the CAR government to confiscate all diamonds held by Badica, Sodiam and other buying houses in stocks in Bangui.

Fighting between Christian and Muslim groups has left about 40 people dead recently. Both armed groups, Amnesty International argues have been profiting from the diamond trade.

In a wide-ranging set of recommendations, the human right group calls on the CAR government to among other things:

  • Ensure that no area is considered a Compliant Zone until the government is confident that it has re-established security in the area at issue, and that armed groups are not able to profit directly or indirectly from diamond mining and exports in that area.
  • Establish an effective system to prevent the smuggling of diamonds into and out of the Compliant Zones and ensure that diamonds are properly valued and subject to export tax before leaving CAR.
  • Ensure that law enforcement, Customs officials and Kimberley Process officials work together and with international partners in establishing these systems.
  • Publish all data provided to the Kimberley Process Monitoring Team under Section II(c) of the Operational Framework for the Compliant Zones as well as details of all exports, exporters and taxes paid.
  • Confiscate all diamonds held by Badica, Sodiam and other buying houses in stocks in Bangui, unless the companies can show reasonable evidence that the diamonds they have purchased since May 2013 did not fund armed groups either directly or indirectly (for these purposes, it is not sufficient simply to provide evidence that the diamonds are from the east or west of CAR).
  • Any diamonds confiscated should be sold and the full proceeds used in the public interest. The government should publish accounts to show how the proceeds of diamond sales were used.

With respect to artisanal miners the group calls on the CAR to:

  • Put in place mechanisms to support safe artisanal diamond mining. Any system to support artisanal miners should have as a primary objective the right to livelihood, and therefore should not impose onerous administrative or financial requirements.
  • Put in place a system to prevent exploitation of artisanal miners by traders. The mechanism should be developed through a consultative process and be tested to ensure that it is robust and does not result in unintended consequences.
  • Take steps to address child labour in the sector consistent with the best interests of the child.

This report focuses on the diamond supply chain, looking at human rights abuses and other unlawful and unethical activities linked to the extraction of and trade in rough diamonds. It begins by looking at the case of one diamond-producing country that has been embroiled in conflict since late 2012 – the  Central African Republic (CAR) – and moves along the supply chain from CAR to the international diamond trading centres of Dubai and Antwerp.

The report is based on extensive desk research on the international diamond supply chain, including reviewing documents on the import and export of diamonds. Desk research was augmented by field research in four countries: CAR, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Cameroon and Belgium. Amnesty International researchers spoke with or wrote to all four governments as well as a number of companies named in this report, offering an opportunity to comment on the organization’s findings.

Read complete report