The United Nations defines conflict diamonds as ‘diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments, or in contravention of the decisions of the Security Council’. These diamonds are also referred to as ‘blood diamonds’.
For years these illegal market has allowed rebel leaders to arm and equip their armies in violation of UN weapons and financial sanctions. Rebel armies in Angola, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo exploited the alluvial diamond fields of these countries in order to finance wars of insurgency. Alluvial diamonds, unlike those mined in the deep kimberlite ‘pipes’ of Botswana, 鑽石戒指樓上鋪 Russia and Canada, are found over vast areas of territory, often only a few inches or feet below the surface of the earth. Alluvial diamonds have proven difficult to manage and to regulate. Because of their high weight-to-value ratio, the ease with which they can be mined, and endemic corruption in the global diamond market, alluvial diamonds became a ready target for rebel armies.
The trade in conflict diamonds began in the early 1990s with Jonas Savimbi’s National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, but was quickly copied by the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone, with assistance from Liberia’s warlord president, Charles Taylor, who is now being tried in The Hague for war crimes and has recently showed up in western newspaper for having allegedly gifted top-model Naomi Campbell with a few illicit stones.
Even if the diamonds industries used to inscribe the commerce of conflict diamonds in an optimistic 4% figure, NGOs involved in the fight against this trade like Partnership Africa Canada stated that as much as 15% of the world’s $10 billion annual rough diamond production fell into the category of conflict diamonds in the late 1990s.