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Central African Republic: Companies must not profit from blood diamonds says Amnesty Intl. in a new report; includes company responses

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Article
30 September 2015

CAR: Companies must not profit from blood diamonds

Author: Amnesty International

The Central African Republic’s (CAR) biggest traders have purchased diamonds worth several million dollars without adequately investigating whether they financed armed groups responsible for summary executions, rape, enforced disappearances and widespread looting, Amnesty International said in a [new] report...The report, Chains of Abuse: The global diamond supply chain and the case of the Central African Republic, documents several other abuses in the diamond sector, including child labour and tax abuse. CAR’s diamond companies could soon start exporting diamonds stockpiled during the on-going conflict in which 5,000 have died. An export ban in place since May 2013 will be partially lifted once the government meets conditions set in July 2015 by the Kimberley Process...“If companies have bought blood diamonds, they must not be allowed to profit from them,” said Lucy Graham, Legal Adviser in Amnesty International’s Business and Human Rights Team. “The government should confiscate any blood diamonds, sell them and use the money for the public benefit. The people of CAR have a right to profit from their own natural resources. As the country seeks to rebuild, it needs its diamonds to be a blessing, not a curse.” [she added]. 

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Report
29 September 2015

Chains of abuse - The global diamond supply chain and the case of the Central African Republic [full report]

Author: Amnesty International

This report focuses on the diamond supply chain, looking at human rights abuses and other unlawful and unethical activities linked to the extraction of and trade in rough diamonds. It begins by looking at the case of one diamond-producing country that has been embroiled in conflict since late 2012 – the Central African Republic (CAR) – and moves along the supply chain from CAR to the international diamond trading centres of Dubai and Antwerp...Two of the main buying houses that have operated during the conflict are Badica and Sodiam. Badica is a diamond trading and export company based in Bangui. Its sister company, Kardiam, is based in the international diamond trading centre of Antwerp, Belgium...The UN Panel of Experts has stated that diamonds from areas under the control of Séléka factions in the east have been purchased by or on behalf of Badica...In an April 2014 interview with the UN Panel, the Managing Director of Badica claimed that the company had stopped purchasing diamonds...Amnesty International contacted Kardiam by letter in June 2015 and asked it to comment on the allegations made about Badica and Kardiam. Kardiam responded stating that Kardiam and Badica denied all of the allegations made against them in the UN Panel of Experts’ October report, and that it had provided a counter-report to the Panel demonstrating that Badica’s trade was lawful and transparent, and highlighting the mistakes made by the Panel in the course of its enquiries and material errors contained in the Panel’s report. A copy of this letter is attached in the annex to this report...Sodiam...has been operating throughout the conflict, purchasing diamonds mainly in the west of CAR...When the UN Panel of Experts contacted Sodiam about this issue, the company’s managing director told them that Sodiam’s policy is to exclude purchases from military personnel and from members of armed groups, and that the company is instructing its collectors to do the same, “in order to avoid incidents of indirect purchases from alleged anti-balaka members”. The UN Panel concluded that: “Sodiam’s purchases have incidentally financed anti-balaka members, but that the risk of such financing is now being mitigated by the company with the implementation of due diligence procedures.”...Amnesty International wrote to Sodiam...to ask for details of the process that the company told the UN Panel it was using...[Sodiam's respone is included in the annex to this report].

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Article
29 September 2015

Chains of abuse: The case of diamonds from the Central African Republic and the global diamond supply chain

Author: Amnesty International

Amnesty International has examined three specific points in the global diamond supply chain, starting with diamonds in the Central African Republic (CAR), moving to two of CAR’s neighbours into which some of its diamonds are smuggled, and ending at diamond exchanges in the major global trading centres of Antwerp and Dubai. CAR has been embroiled in armed conflict since late 2012. The report uses CAR as a case study to examine the diamond supply chain but looks beyond the conflict to human rights abuses in the artisanal mining sector in CAR and to other illegal and unethical practices in the diamond supply chain that cause or contribute to human rights abuses – such as smuggling and tax abuse.

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