Cameroon Enabling CAR Conflict Diamonds

Dubai: Conflict diamonds from the Central African Republic (CAR) are entering the supply chain because of poor prevention controls, non-governmental group Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) alleged.

Rough stones are being smuggled across the border into Cameroon and adjudged conflict-free after they receive Kimberley Process certificates, enabling them to then be exported to international markets, PAC claimed.

Interviews with miners, traders and exporters show how diamonds are being smuggled across CAR’s 900 kilometer border with Cameroon, PAC said, alleging corruption among officials. Large shipments of embargoed, conflict diamonds pass through Cameroon’s transit hubs undeclared, it claimed.

PAC blamed Cameroon for failing to implement KP guidelines that are intended to prevent the export of diamonds used to fund rebel wars. The report, “From Conflict to Illicit,” comes on the eve of a KP review visit to Cameroon to assess the country’s implementation of its guidelines.

“While international outcry about ‘blood diamonds’ financing war in the Central African Republic sparked action to stop the trade, the same spotlight has not been turned on CAR’s neighbors,” said Joanne Lebert, PAC’s executive director. “Our investigation shows the reality on the ground and how conflict diamonds from CAR still have entry points to international markets through Cameroon.”

The KP suspended CAR in 2013, meaning it was banned from exporting rough diamonds, after rebels took over the nation’s governance. Certain regions of CAR were declared compliant and re-admitted this year so that the country can ship a limited volume of diamonds.