Senator Boxer: Reform the Diamond Trade
Friday, February 2, 2007
I recently joined several of my Senate colleagues in writing to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of the Treasury Henry M. Paulson, Jr. about the international diamond trade. Tragically, the sale of “blood diamonds” has fueled civil wars that have led to the deaths of more than 4 million people and the displacement of millions in Angola, Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Human rights abuses continue today in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the struggle to control the diamond mines.
The Kimberley Process was set up to stop the trade of blood diamonds, but it has serious loopholes that must be addressed to make the system more effective. In our letter, we ask that Secretary Rice and Secretary Paulson undertake steps to strengthen national and international diamond control efforts. In particular, we ask that American diamond companies be required to have an independent auditor confirm their compliance with the Kimberley Process, that there be periodic spot checks of diamond companies and importers/exporters to improve the accuracy of U.S. diamond trade statistics, and that our nation work with other governments to crack down on blood diamonds smuggled out of the Ivory Coast.
Our letter also states that it is essential for the United States to demonstrate “active leadership to ensure that diamond mining contribute to sustainable development and respect for human rights in these African countries, rather than fueling conflict and often appalling violence by financing criminal activity.” You can count on me to continue to work to this end.
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer