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Civil Society Calls to Suspend Russia from Kimberley Process

Jun 14, 2022 10:39 AM   By Rapaport News
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The Civil Society Coalition is urging the Kimberley Process (KP) to take a stand against Russian diamonds and own up to the fact that its current definition of conflict diamonds is not broad enough.

“The KP being unable to even discuss whether it should continue certifying Russian diamonds as conflict free proves what the KP Civil Society Coalition has been denouncing for years, namely that the world’s conflict diamond scheme is no longer fit for purpose,” the coalition said Tuesday.

The Civil Society Coalition wants the KP to agree on widening its conflict-diamond definition at its upcoming intersessional meeting in Botswana, which is scheduled for June 20 to 24. The new, expanded terminology should include diamonds associated with widespread or systemic violence and serious violations of human rights, regardless of who committed them, the coalition explained.

It also asks that the KP suspend the Russian Federation as a participant until it ends its invasion of Ukraine, and create a reform agenda that would allow it more flexible decision-making ability, rather than needing to abide by a consensus.

Widespread repercussions

“The lack of international coordination is plunging the diamond sector into the deepest crisis since the blood-diamond challenges of the late 1990s, which lay at the basis of this very process,” the coalition explained. “Diamond-industry associations are being torn apart over their ties with Russia’s state-owned miner Alrosa, and several of the world’s largest diamond and jewelry companies have, in the absence of international sanctions, decided to unilaterally stop sourcing Russian diamonds, which represent one-third of the world’s diamond supply.”

The expansion of the conflict-diamond definition has been on the table for several years, held up by the need for a unanimous consensus and a few member countries that are dragging their feet.

The lack of response to Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine by certain governing bodies in the industry was also a point of conflict. Kering’s jewelry labels Boucheron, Pomellato and Qeelin, along with Richemont, LVMH, Watches of Switzerland and Pandora, have exited the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), taking issue with its delayed response to suspending Russian diamond-mining giant Alrosa. The organization’s director, Iris Van der Veken, resigned over the matter. Meanwhile, jewelry retailers including Chopard, Tiffany & Co. and Signet Jewelers have stopped sourcing Russian diamonds following sanctions on the country. Tiffany stated it would also not import diamonds of Russian origin that had been manufactured elsewhere, even though, at the time, those were allowed.

Image: Rough diamonds. (Shutterstock)
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Tags: Alrosa, boucheron, Chopard, Civil Society Coalition, Conflict Diamonds, diamonds, Jewelry, kering, Kimberley Process, KP, LVMH, Pandora, Pomellato, Qeelin, Rapaport News, Responsible Jewellery Council, Richemont, RJC, Russian federation, Signet, Tiffany & CO., Ukraine, Watches of Switzerland
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