Antwerp diamond sector frontrunner in the battle against conflict diamonds

The Antwerp diamond sector stays the global frontrunner in the battle against conflict diamonds. This was again proven last month by the discovery of a shipment of conflict diamonds from the Central African Republic. In Antwerp, blood diamonds are systematically kept out by the Kimberley Process mechanism, which is a partnership between governments, the diamond sector and NGOs. This makes Antwerp the most ethical diamond city of the world.

Kimberly Process paying off

The diamond sector in Antwerp, represented by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), coordinates and controls all in and outgoing diamonds very thoroughly. By doing this, it gives its full support to the Kimberly Process, a strict international control mechanism for the sale of rough diamonds. The Kimberley Process (KP) was founded in 2000 in the South-African town of Kimberley. The KP has 51 participants who represent 77 countries with an ethical view on diamond trade.

Thanks to this control system, conflict diamonds are resolutely banned from international trade traffic. Conflict diamonds are diamonds used by armed rebels to finance war and conflict. In the Central African Republic, for example, there has been armed conflict for years between several local militias, over which the government has long since lost their hold. These splinter groups turn to the sale of diamond to bankroll their bloody battle.

Antwerp Diamond city as most important link

But that doesn’t take Antwerp into account, by far the most transparent and controlled trade centre for diamonds in the world. Every suspicious shipment is meticulously controlled, reducing the chances of fraud to the bare minimum. The diamond sector wants to send a powerful signal that diamonds for conflict areas are not welcome in Antwerp.

At the slightest doubt, the diamonds will be extensively compared to the characteristics of diamonds from conflict zones. Antwerp is a very important link in the chain for this inspection, because 84% of rough diamonds and 50% of cut diamonds pass through this city.

With this, Antwerp confirms its status as the international number one in pure diamonds, both in terms of quality and origin. The Antwerp diamond sector fully believes in a long-term strategy of honest trade of diamonds from conflict free zones.

Author: Katrien Maes

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