Campaign group pulls out of 'blood diamond' scheme

The Kimberley Process was developed to stop the trade in conflict diamonds

Story highlights

  • Global Witness says the scheme is ignoring the links between diamonds, violence and tyranny
  • The move follows the sale of diamonds from Zimbabwe
  • The Kimberley Process is backed by the United Nations

A major international environmental group is pulling out of the process to guarantee that diamonds do not come from conflict zones, saying the Kimberley Process had refused "to evolve and address the clear links between diamonds, violence and tyranny."

Workers pan for diamonds in a mine near Kenema, Sierra Leone, in June 2001. Diamonds were the main issue in the west African country's decade-long tumultuous civil war.

    Just Watched

    Where are your diamonds from?

Where are your diamonds from? 02:51
PLAY VIDEO

The campaign group, Global Witness, had been part of the process to certify that precious stones are not "blood diamonds" for nine years.

Mike Davis announced the Global Witness decision Monday.

"We don't take this decision lightly, but we feel that we've now have reached a juncture where by continuing to participate we are inadvertently lending legitimacy to a scheme which is really misleading people in the diamond trade," he said.

The decision follows the controversial sale of a batch of diamonds from the Marange diamond fields in Zimbabwe, some of which are owned by companies associated with President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

Davis said the Mugabe government has to rely on diamond income because of the intense international pressure on it.

    "Diamonds are an absolute godsend for them and a curse for the rest of Zimbabwe," he said.

    The Kimberley Process was developed in 2000 when a group of diamond-producing countries met in Kimberley, South Africa, to combat the trade in conflict diamonds.

    The group's efforts were supported by the United Nations, which in December of 2000, ratified a resolution in support of the group.

        CNN recommends

      • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

        As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
      • Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
      • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

        Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
      • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

        It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.