Chicago, IL—Anyone that trades in diamonds has a responsibility to ensure that every diamond you sell was both produced and sold responsibly. While the famed Kimberley Process Certification Scheme has largely ended the flow of conflict diamonds as originally defined, the Process remains narrow in scope and doesn’t address other human-rights violations around diamond mining. The KP focuses on diamonds being used to fund rebel groups engaged in trying to overthrow a legitimate government, but it doesn’t address governments themselves behaving badly or other human rights abuses in the diamond mining sector.
Human rights violations are happening in diamond mining communities producing Kimberley Process certified diamonds. This makes it impossible to distinguish diamonds tainted with human rights abuses from responsibly sourced diamonds, unless they are certified as recycled or sourced from specific mines—which means jewelers have to be especially vigilant about their supply sources.
The Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference, in cooperation with Human Rights Watch, International Peace Information Service (IPIS) and the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition, will host two one-hour webinars next week that shine a light on the current violations and raise ideas and suggestions for jewelry industry assistance. The webinars will be held Wednesday, October 7 and Thursday, October 8, at 11 a.m. Eastern time each day.
The Wednesday, October 7 session will feature representatives from Human Rights Watch and the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition, who will interview community members from Zimbabwe and Lesotho. These direct testimonies represent a rare opportunity to hear first-hand, without the filters of industry and government, what it is like to live life in the shadow of a mining operation that is being run without regard for the health and welfare of the communities around it.
On Thursday, October 8, a panel of experts from Human Rights Watch, IPIS, Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition, and Responsible Jewelry Transformative will discuss the reasons that human rights problems continue to exist in the diamond supply chain, how we can have more transparency in our communications regarding diamond mining communities, and how the jewelry industry can step up to its responsibilities to improve the diamond sector.
Participants include Juliane Kippenberg, associate director of the Children’s Rights Division at Human Rights Watch; Thabo Lerotholi, Maluti Community Development Forum and Lesotho representative to the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition; Hans Merket, IPIS researcher; Shamiso Mtisi, deputy director at the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association and Zimbabwe coordinator of the CSO Coalition; and Susan Wheeler, CEO and founder of the Responsible Jewelry Transformative.
Visit the web page and access the registration links here: http://crjc.info/diamond-symposium