Headline Feb 20, 2016/ ''' DIAMONDS -&- DRACULAS '''


''AMERICA TURNING INTO A POLICE STATE?!''.......'Come, come, John, you don't really mean that? Do you?''

'The Supreme Court Of America No Longer Represents The American People?' 
'But then tell me in which country does the Supreme Court reflect the aspiration of its people?'  'U.K? Sweden? Germany? Japan? Pakistan? India?'

This imaginary conversation that I play out above, is with this great and good man John W. Whitehead, Attorney and President of The Rutherford Institute. It would be a pity, if the students miss out reading his masterpiece : ''Battlefield America''.

And then this Pakistani born American, Shafiq,  discloses that he's still an outsider in America. 'So will he ever get  accepted as a true bloodied American?'  Maybe, Yes! A few many generations down the road. Not this century, for sure!..............

BUT THE IDEA of a complete chain of custody falls apart in Congo's tens of thousands of alluvial mines.

Some 18 miles [29 km] from Mwanza's creek-side site, more than 100 men labor at a much larger Kangambala mine. 

They have spent four months shoveling away 50 feet  -15m-  of rock and dirt to expose the diamond-bearing gravel below. None are paid for the labor; they work only for the opportunity to find diamonds.

Knee-deep in water pumped up from the nearby river, three men sluice pans of gravel through small sieves. One gives an excited yelp, fishes out sliver of diamond the size of a peppercorn and hands it to an overseer sitting in the shade of a stripped umbrella.

The overseer folds it into a piece of paper torn from a cigarette pack and puts it in his pocket. It's worth maybe $10, he says. 

The find will be split between the owner of the mine site, who gets 70% of the value, and the members of the sluicing team who have been working since 9 a.m. and will continue until the Sun sets around 6 p.m. If they are lucky they will find two or three such slivers in a day.

65% OF THE WORLD'S DIAMONDS that are found in Africa,  -with Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa among the leaders.

140,000 carats : Total weight of  *conflict diamonds*  smuggled out of the war-torn Central African Republic, according to 2014, U.N. report.

EVEN in some cases where the Kimberly Process has implemented a ban  -as in the Central African Republic [CAR], where diamonds have helped a genocidal war that has killed thousands since 2013-

A U.N. panel of experts estimates that 140,000 carat of diamonds -with a retail value of $24 million  -have been smuggled out of the country since since it was suspended in May 2013.

The Enough Project, an organization dedicated to ending resource-based violence in Africa, estimated in a recent report that armed groups raise $3.87 million to $5.8 million a year through the taxation of illicit trade in diamonds.

Many if these diamonds are likely being smuggled across the border to Congo, where they are given Kimberly Process certificates being traded internationally. 

''The Central African Republic  is a classic case of blood diamonds, exactly what the Kimberly Process was intended to address,'' says Michael Gibb of Global Witness, a U.K. based NGO that advocates for the responsible use of natural resources.

''The fact that  CAR  diamonds are making it to international markets is a clear demonstration that the Kimberly Process on its own is not going to be to deal with this kind of problem.''

{Representative of the Congolese body in charge of in charge of issuing Kimberly Process certificates deny that CAR diamonds are being laundered through Congo, but mining ministry officials admit that it is all but impossible to police the country's 1,085 [1,746 km] border with the Central African Republic}.

Many countries, industry leaders and international organizations  -including the U.S. based World Diamond Council, the major industry trade group  -have lobbied to expand the Kimberly Process definition of the conflict diamonds to include issues of environmental impact, and human-rights abuses and fair labor practices. They'v made little progress.

One reason : any change to the criteria must be made by consensus. Many countries, including Russia, China and Zimbabwe, have resisted inserting human-rights language that might threaten national interests.  

They are instead taking it  upon themselves to ensure the integrity of of the diamond supply chain and assuage consumer doubts.

TIFFANY& Co., Signet and De Beers' Forevermark brand have instituted strict strict sourcing policies for their diamonds that address many of these concerns. 

In New York, this March, jewel industry executives from around the world will meet for an unprecedented  two a half day conference on responsible sourcing in an attempt to hammer out an industry wide process as transparent as the that brings fair-trade coffee to Starbucks.

''Why shouldn't we able to to trace a much more valuable and more emotionally laden product? asks Beth Gerstein, who in 2005 cofounded Brilliant Earth, one of the first jewelry companies to make responsible sourcing a selling point .

Every act in the diamond chain is a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, companies need to understand enough about their supply chains to assure customers that child-labor issues, environmental degradation or human-rights abuses do not taint their jewelry.

But while the easiest way to do that is by simply boycotting certain countries, abstaining won't make those problems disappear.

In a desperately poor country like Congo   -where over half the population lives on less than $1.25t  a day   -things could actually get worse.''Artisanal miners in Africa are actually becoming victims of our desire to do right by diamond miners.''

According to Congo's Ministry of Mines, nearly 10% of the population relies on income from diamonds, and the country produces about a fifth of the world's industrial diamonds.

Diamonds may bring problems, but rejecting them outright would bring even more, says Albert Kiungu Muepu, the provincial head of a Congolese NGO that, with the help of the Ottawa-based Diamond Development Initiative is organizing miners into collectives-

The first step towards establishing fair-trade diamonds. A boycott ''will not change diamonds of misfortune into diamonds of joy overnight,'' he says.

The Honour and Serving of  ''Poverty Operational Research'' continues. Than You all for reading and sharing.

With respectful dedication to the Leaders of the Free World. See You all, Your Excellencies on !WOW!  -the World Students Society and the Ecosystem 2011.

''' Brilliant Mobile School '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!