Other Facets no 28
In ‘Venezuela Saga Continues’ Venezuela has been a thorn in the side of the Kimberley Process – and the industry it seeks to protect – almost from the beginning. A charter member of the KP from 2003, Venezuela basically stopped reporting on diamond production and trade early in 2005. An endless series of KP communications through 2005 and 2006 failed to make any contact at all with the country’s diamond authorities. At the end of 2006, Partnership Africa Canada issued a damning investigative report on Venezuelan diamonds, which showed that the government had lost control of the industry, and that 100% of the country’s production was being smuggled out, mainly through Brazil and Guyana. In ‘Rekindled War in DRC’ there has been an escalation in the conflict between rebel leader Laurent Nkunda’s Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP) and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC). ‘Porous borders just an excuse: PAC Releases 2008 Diamond Review’ sheds new light on old and continuing problems. The most notable are the very weak internal controls that exist in most countries where diamonds are produced artisanally. In ‘Kimberley Statistics Revealed: Limited Utility says Critic’ the Kimberley Process has been gathering data on the world’s diamond production and trade. In ‘Liberians follow Taylor Trial’ a poll undertaken by the international NGO Search for Common Ground found that Liberians are closely following the war crimes trial in The Hague of former Liberian president Charles Taylor. In ‘US Toughens Diamond Regulations,’ the U.S. Treasury Department announced two important amendments to the Clean Diamond Trade Act in May. The first states that U.S. Customs will not release a shipment of rough diamonds, no matter how small, without the formal entry documents. In ‘Sierra Leone: A New Era of Reform?’ the ICG report says that Sierra Leone has made much progress since the civil war ended in 2002, but a number of social and economic time bombs must still be defused to ensure an enduring peace. The newsletter then concludes with a Media Watch piece and a book review.