January 29, 2007

Amnesty 2



Fearing a backlash like the one that damaged the fur industry, diamond dealers have recently begun to promote “ethical diamonds.” However, there has been widespread criticism of the diamond industry’s attempts to self regulate. DeBeers, which controls 60 _ 70% of the world’s uncut diamonds, has yet to agree to an independent audit requested by Amnesty International. DeBeers recently claimed that after 70 years of running a diamond cartel, it will not continue to stockpile diamonds in order to artificially inflate the price of the stones.

January 27, 2007



How successful where the recommendations to the international community regarding diamonds? Sierra Leone: Amnesty International calls for fast and effective action on diamonds (AI Index: AFR 51/54/00), 30 June 2000, and
Sierra Leone: Cutting the link between diamonds and guns (AI Index: AFR 51/27/00), 31 May 2000.

For further information on Amnesty International’s position on military assistance to rebel forces and the trade in diamonds, see Sierra Leone: Cutting the link between diamonds and human rights abuses “forever” (AI Index: AFR 51/56/00) 14 July 2000,


2000 – sierra leone conflict caputred the minds of the international community

De Beers said they will not buy conflict diamonds

Amnesty: needs to be increased scurtiny of trade with Guinea and Liberia
All change sin the diamond industry are coming about because the it feels it has to ‘clean up some dirty business’


Amnesty International remained concerned about the role of Liberia in the transfer of arms and ammunition to Sierra Leone and of diamonds leaving Sierra Leone. Amnesty International reinterated its call to the Security Council to investigate the origins of diamonds exported from Liberia and other countries in West Africa to ensure that these are not from rebel-held areas of Sierra Leone.

Amnesty International is called on governments and the diamond industry to remain focussed in their efforts to develop a comprehensive, transparent and verifiable system, including a worldwide tamper-proof certification, packaging and monitoring system.

November 16, 2006

Consumer confidence


- info. about the Kimberley Process
- diamoind companies are only agreeing to sign it in order to get consumer confidnece

November 09, 2006

Has UN + NGO activity achieved anything? Will a film change anything?


- UN cautions against placing additional sanctions on Liberia could worsen its its economic-situation
- imposing arms, diamonds and travel sanctions on Liberian govt. for its alleged support of rebel movements in Sierra Leone and Guinea
- The sanctions intended to prevent Sierra Leonean diamonds from being smuggled into Liberia were causing legitimately mined Liberian diamonds to be smuggled into Sierra Leone


- 2003 – Mineral Resources Minister Mohamed Swarray-Deen: the initiative, dubbed the Kimberley – helped to legitimise the industry in SL
- The Kimberley process - designed to distinguish between legally and illegally-mined diamonds—has been put in place by the Sierra Leonean government and buttressed by a United Nations embargo on all non-certified diamonds emanating from the west African country
- David Crane, the US prosecutor for the Special Court on Sierra Leone – accusses Liberian President Charles Taylor among others of harboring terrorists from the Middle East, including al Qaeda and Hezbollah
- Locals in the diamond-rich area of Kono, where the highest number of legal mining licenses have been distributed, say illicit prospecting is rife involving about three times the number of the 435 registered licence holders.


- SL diamonds are high quality – compared to industrial diamonds which cannot make jewelry
- govt. describes as an organised crime sindicate – diamonds become the property of whoever has the monopoly at the time
- The conflict diamond issue first came to the public’s attention in 1998 when a small, London-based non-governmental organization (NGO) named Global Witness released a report titled A Rough Trade – detailed the way in which Angolan rebels were smuggling diamonds into the international markets
- Sierra Leone is currently home to 17,000 UN peacekeepers, the largest such force in the world.
- Other NGO’s have also been able to affect policy, including Oxfam America, Global Policy Forum, and Amnesty International
- organizations such as the International Crisis Group have issued lengthy reports on countries at war, including Angola and Sierra Leone
-Kimberley Process is the new set of standards which approximately 70 countries have agreed to be part of. It is a certification scheme that seeks to track diamonds from the mine to the retail counter by using a certificate system. It is endorsed by the United Nations and went into effect on January 1, 2003
- Many scholars and NGO’s such as ActionAid are skeptical of the ability to trace an item as easily smuggled as diamonds


- Movie ‘Blood Diamonds’ – set in 1999 Sierra Leone – rebels who cut off the limbs of villagers to scare them into working in the mines
- September: the World Diamond Council – a trade group – took out full-page ads in 10 newspapers. They touted the Kimberley Process, a three-year-old, U.N.-backed certification system designed to keep blood diamonds off the market
- Allan Mayer: “One of the things about big movies is they don’t come out of the blue,” he says. “You see them coming a long way off. So, what you want to do in a situation like that is start planning your response a year, 18 months before the movie comes out. Start talking about the issues that matter to you in a context that has nothing to do with the movie.”
- Director Zwick: number of diamonds on the international market has been reduced since 1999 – but is still significant
- Alex Yearsley works for Global Witness, a human rights group: “At the height of the blood diamond issue, when it was on the front pages - pictures of Sierra Leonean children having had their arms cut off - there was no discernable downsizing in diamond sales,” Yearsley says


- 2001: UN Security Council has imposed a worldwide ban on the export of diamonds from Sierra Leone
- the British Ambassador at the UN, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, said the system would make it more expensive and more difficult for traders to deal in illicit diamonds from Sierra Leone
- The measures include an international certification scheme, sanctions against rogue dealers and plans to ensure the diamonds are not traded for arms.


- Conflict diamonds are a short-term problem for Sierra Leone, which will end with the war? Not sure about this


- history of diamonds in SL 1935-2000
- By the time a diamond rush began in the 1950s, the government gave up policing the diamond districts. Foreign investors provided their own security
- In 1968, populist Siaka Stevens became prime minister, bringing the country to one-party rule. Stevens was the first to officially connect the diamond mines to political power and profit, and he encouraged illicit mining to gain political power
- At the end of Stevens’ 17-year rule, De Beers removed itself from deeply corrupt Sierra Leone. In 1984, De Beers’ SLST sold its remaining shares to the Precious Metals Mining Co., controlled by Mohammed. A year later, Stevens retired and his successor, Joseph Momoh, having little political or leadership skills, placed even more responsibility in Mohammed’s hands, and illicit diamond mining within Sierra Leone flourished
- In 1991, with a weak leader, a corrupt government and openly illicit diamond trading, Sierra Leone was a vulnerable and attractive site for armed rebellion. On March 23, a civil war began when the Revolutionary United Front, a group of 100 fighters from Sierra Leone and Liberia, invaded east Sierra Leone.


- The World Diamond Council is spending around $US15 million ($19.5 million) on an awareness campaign, funded by heavyweights such as South Africa’s De Beers, ahead of the Christmas release of the film, set in the western African nation of Sierra Leone
- But the London-based rights group Amnesty International recently said the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) had not managed to implement foolproof checks three years after it came into force.
“Despite the progress made, three years after its establishment the KPCS has not been able to fully address, monitor and end the international trade in conflict diamonds,” it said.

Cram cram cram


- Written at a time when blood diamonds were a ‘new concept’ in the west?
- RUF trained in Liberia. Suggests that blood diamonds are an international issue from the begginning – Liberia wants to control SL diamond trade
- 4% – 10% of diamonds on the market are ‘conflict diamonds’


- brief 20th century history of ‘conflict diamonds’
- problems with implementing anti-conflict diamond legislation – bribes


- more detailed account of governemtn corruption post-1930s when the diamonds were descovered
- De Beers (diamond seller) directly involved until 1980s – then became indirectly involved
- Accusses De Beers of moving out of SL durring armed conflict – relocating to Liberia, where most of the diamonds would be smuggled and resold


- accusations at De Beers – buying conflict diamonds even though say said they wouldn’t


- notice the article immediately points out how conflict diamonds relates to the US – the reader is only interested because it indirectly relates to them?
- 12,000 UN peackeepers in SL – largest contingent in the world
- click on the link and you can view some really graphic pictures of acts of violence committed by the rebels – pictures designed to attract the interest of the West?
- SL photographer Sorius Samura says: will a Hollywood film director have to come to SL before anyone pays attention?
- in this article a source says that it is difficult for a diamond expert to tell the difference from a legitimate diamond and a rebel diamond – in another article an expert said that diamonds can be identified from there regio
- 10-15% of diamonds around the world are conflict diamonds – but a higher share are of gem quality

- requent references to the attrocities committed towards people and how they relate to people buying diamonds in the West – encourage emotional envolvement?
- make diamond industry work for SL’s benifit rather than its ruin – issue frequently brought up in many of these articles
- failure of techniques to monitor the selling of diamonds frequently made reference to in all these articles


- mentions straight away that the photographer nearly died obtaining the footage
- mention of needing a hollywood director to make a film about SL
- points out that shocking footage helped to glavanize oppossition to the Vietnam war


- illegal diamond sellers cross boarders to get past diamond trade regulations

Get cracking, get get cracking


- Points out that atrocities in SL have been going on since 1991 but only around 2001 did the international media take an interest
- Compares the media coverage in SL to the media coverage in Kosovo
- Post 1999 the UN has tried to disarm rebels
- UK army helped to get UK citizens of out SL and tried to stabilise the situation without UN consent
- July 2000 UNSC imposed na 18 month ban on diamond export from SL


- Explanation of how ‘Rough Controls’ and the ‘Clean Diamonds Act’ effect diamond sellers


- timeline of ‘bllod diaomnd’ conflict


- view from the ground – effect of ‘Rough controls’ on diamond sellers + miners
- to beat the controls on diamonds RUF members take there diamonds to Liberia


- conflict from the point of view of a women who was kidnapped as a child by the RUF
- describes how RUF swapped diamonds from ammunition with westerners


- description of process diamonds go through before the can leave SL
- RUF has agreed signed a peace deal with govt. not o mine any more diamonds but infact RUF is migning more heavily than ever before
- peace agreement is giving RUF time to rearm
- very easy to get diamonds out of the country


- The Heart of the Matter: Sierra Leone, Diamonds and Human secuity – published in 2000 – began to attract inernational interst in conflict diamonds
- conflict more to do with economic self-interest of dictators and warlords than political causes
- PAC – importance of non-governmental organisation in getting infomation to the rerst of the world

Lets get cracking


- RUF fund there rebellion using diamond trade – $125,000,000 a year. Slave workers used to mine diamonds
- suggests that International/non-governmental organisations have little influence
=thoughout the last decade Western companys have been buying ‘blood diamonds’
- blood diamonds linked to Al Qaeda + global terrorism
- history appears to begin in 1991
- US govt. does not want to place tough regualtions on the US diamond industry


- UN says that there is a direct link between illegal diamond trade and conflict in Africa
- Defintion of a conflict diamond: ‘diamond orgiantated from a group who are oppossed to legtimate and internationally recognised government and money is used to fund armed conflict’
- stoppinf illegal diamonds helps to stop funding for armed conflict
- encouraging legitmate diamonds helps to boost economy
- United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) seems to be doing a lot of talking


- brief history of intenrational intervention in SL
- suggests that it will take more than UN ntervention to bring stability
- The West is not particularly interested in Africa, repeatedly ignores issues in Africa


- describes devistation to land in SL
- describes terribel conditions that diamond miners have to work under
- lists ways in which the situation could be improved

October 16, 2006

British colonail administration

Writing about web page http://0-afraf.oxfordjournals.org.pugwash.lib.warwick.ac.uk/cgi/reprint/103/412/471.pdf

Found an interesting article about the memiors of members of the British colonial serivce entiltled ‘GOVERNING EMPIRE: COLONIAL MEMOIRS AND THE HISTORY OF HM OVERSEAS CIVIL SERVICE’ by

A quote I found interesting was on page 488 – ‘As the maxim ran, under direct rule you decide what you want to do and
do it. Under indirect rule you decide what you want to do, try to persuade the local rulers that that is what they also want to do, give them the powers to do it, then do it yourself.’

This could go to explain why Sierra Leone is so badly run nowadays, becuase the system of government has never allowed to fully develope under British rule.

October 13, 2006

My First Entry

In the past I have considered starting a blog, but I have never been able to think of suitable topic. I played around with the idea of keeping an online diary, but I figured that nothing I ever do would be of particular interest to anyone other than friends and family. Moreover if I ever did do anything of interest I would probably be too busy being interesting to have the time to update my blog. However, as Bob Dylan once remarked “the times they are a changing” and I have found good reason to start a blog. I signed up to the history module “In Sickness and in Wealth: International Development and the Making of the third World”, which requires me to set up a media diary and like an idealistic UN peacekeeper I have risen to the challenge. The subject of my blog is Sierra Leone. As it is still early days I have not yet decided which issues I shall focus on. I am interested in how the West perceives Sierra Leone through Hollywood and Popular music so I have been looking at various newspapers and online film sites. I am also interested in the effect British colonialism has had on Sierra Leone’s economy. Too topics which may not appear to link together, but I might soon find they actually do. Anyway, it’s still early days and I will get back to you when I have found something truly worthy of your time.

P.S. At the time of typing I am in the IT resources room. I have just had a thought. Wouldn’t it be so cool and post-modern if in a few weeks time, when my blog is in full swing, if I looked across the resources room and saw someone checking out my blog?

P.P.S. On second thought it wouldn’t be particularly cool or interesting, as it would be no different to watching another person read one of my essays. This whole blog thing has got me rather over excited.

P.P.P.S. No actually it would be cool because if I saw someone who I didn’t know reading my blog it would mean that they were reading because they genuinely found the blog interesting. They would not be reading it as a personal favour to me or to check up on how my blog was going in comparison to there’s. Wow. Blogs are great

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