INTERNATIONAL TRADE: Significant Challenges Remain in Deterring Trade in Conflict Diamonds
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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I am pleased to be here today to discuss our observations on the conflict diamond trade and U.S. and international efforts to deter this trade. The United Nations General Assembly defines conflict diamonds as rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance their military activities, including attempts to undermine or overthrow legitimate governments. These conflicts have created severe humanitarian crises in countries such as Sierra Leone, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The United States and much of the international community are trying to sever the link between conflict and diamonds while ensuring that no harm is done to the legitimate diamond industry, which is economically important in many countries. The principal international effort to address these objectives, known as the Kimberley Process, aims to develop and implement an international diamond certification scheme that will deter conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate market. The Kimberley participants, including government, diamond industry, and nongovernmental organization officials, have reported back to the United Nations General Assembly with a proposal they believe 1 provides a good basis for the envisaged scheme. Consistent with the Kimberley Process, the U.S. Congress has legislation pending that would require countries exporting diamonds to the United States to have a system of controls to keep conflict diamonds from entering their stream of commerce.
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