WDC Adds to Criticism of Amnesty CAR Report

wdcThe World Diamond Council (WDC) has become the latest body to come out against a recent Amnesty International report that claimed diamond trafficking was being used to fund violence in the Central African Republic (CAR).

WDC president Edward Asscher said in an interview with Bloomberg that the Kimberley Process (KP) had taken “more than 99 percent” of conflict diamonds off the market.

“The diamond council gladly re-invites Amnesty to participate and join us and the [KP’s] civil society coalition looking into aspects of CAR and the whole Kimberley Process,” he said.

The KP has banned the export of diamonds from the CAR since May 2013, two months after the overthrow of President Francois Bozize, a Christian, by mostly Muslim militias.

Asscher’s response comes after the Amnesty report, published in late September, drew criticism from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, which claimed there were “factual errors” in the NGO’s output.

The report alleged that there were “human rights abuses, smuggling and tax dodging throughout the diamond supply chain” from CAR to Belgium and the UAE and said checks and audits in Antwerp and Dubai “could be open to abuse because of the sheer number of diamonds and traders involved as well as a lack of effective oversight.”

Amnesty legal adviser Lucy Graham told Bloomberg the organization’s report was “a damning indictment of the Kimberley Process and its failure over a number of years to address human rights abuses and other illegal and unethical practices” and demanded stricter laws to require companies to investigate their supply chains and disclose what measures they have taken.