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Industry Body Calls for Extra Diligence on Rough from CAR
The World Diamond Council reminds the trade that rough diamond exports from the Central African Republic remain restricted to a handful of “green zones.”
New York—The World Diamond Council is calling on members of the diamond industry to exercise extra caution when buying rough that originated in, or even might have originated in, the Central African Republic.
A landlocked country about the size of Texas and counts diamonds and gold among its main exports, CAR has been plagued by instability for years.
The current round of violence broke out in December in the run-up to the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections.
According to various news reports, a newly formed coalition of a half-dozen armed groups calling itself the Coalition of Patriots for Change, or CPC, tried to stop the elections.
CPC has been clashing with government and allied forces ever since, resulting in civilian deaths and causing hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes, creating an underreported humanitarian crisis.
On Tuesday, the UN peacekeeping chief, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, said while there are signs of progress in the nation of about 5 million, the situation remains volatile and the humanitarian situation is “alarming.”
The nation’s instability and threats of violence are preventing aid trucks from getting to the people who need lifesaving supplies, including food and medical equipment needed in the battle against COVID-19.
Due to the political unrest, the WDC is urging the trade to keep in mind the restrictions on CAR rough diamond exports.
From 2013-2016, the Kimberley Process banned exports from the nation entirely due to rebel violence.
The ban was partially lifted in 2016 and relaxed further in 2019 to encourage legal exports and stem smuggling.
The most recent framework, approved in November 2019 by the KP, allows the CAR government to issue KP certificates for rough diamonds from eight so-called “green zones,” areas that are under CAR government control and show no evidence of armed rebel group activity.
These diamonds, which are accompanied by official CAR Kimberley Process certificates, are the only rough stones sourced in CAR that can be purchased legitimately, WDC said.
The council urges all members of the trade to “continue conducting enhanced due diligence” where CAR is concerned and to implement the guidelines contained in the WDC’s new System of Warranties.
It said its guidelines go beyond the areas covered by the Kimberley Process, covering issues of human and labor rights, as well as anti-money laundering and anti-corruption measures.
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