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the true history of the blood diamond industry in West Africa

Blood diamonds, which are also known as conflict diamonds, are utilized for the illegal trading of diamonds. The money is used to finance conflict and violations of human rights in various countries in Africa. The illegal trading of diamonds has been used by African Warlords to purchase weapons. Some of the most affected countries include Angola, the DRC, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The main objective of this paper is to demonstrate the true history of the blood diamond industry in West Africa. This is an industry that is very popular in Sierra Leone.

It has gone through many hurdles, which have resulted in extensive destruction and violation of human rights. These diamonds are sold illegally to Western countries in order to finance insurgents against internationally recognized institutions. Even though numerous efforts have been put in place to stop the trade, the impact of the civil war on the affected countries has left nothing but shambles. The war has always been between governments and warlords. There is always the saying that “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”; this has turned into nothing but a saying whose purpose is a publicizing strategy.

It all began with a small discovery by a 15-year-old boy. This would be followed by decades of bloodshed. Somewhere between 1866 and early 1867, a teenage boy known as Erasmus Jacobs collected a glittery rock from the ground in De Kalka ranch. The small land was situated in the southern region of Orange River in Cape Colony, present South Africa. The region was controlled by the British controlled region in what is currently known as South Africa.

After playing with the shiny stone for a while, the boy later presented it to a neighboring friend, shalk Van Niekerk, who often gathered rare pebbles. Through agreed terms, Niekerk presented the stone to a trader, who gave it to Colesberg and presented it to a magistrate. When the magistrate realized that the rock could cut glass, he stated, “I am certain this is a diamond.” Boyes, the Magistrates then took the piece to a magistrate to a local pharmacist, Dr Guybon Atherstone, located in Grahams town. The pharmacist reported that the stone was a 21.25 yellow diamond. The shiny pebble was purchased by the governor of Cape Colony for 500 sterling pounds and was later presented in the 1867 Paris exhibition. The pebble was called the “Eureka” diamond soon after Niekerk found another, more spectacular piece.

For many centuries, diamonds have been viewed as a symbol of love and marriage. However, a significant part of the world’s diamonds comes from war-torn areas, where bloodshed is a normal occurrence. In some countries, rebel groups use the profit from the illegal sale of diamonds to purchase weapons for their insurgent operations. In this paper will also introduce a comprehensive analysis of blood diamonds and the insurgent groups that mine them. This paper will also discuss the violation of basic human rights that these rebel groups commit on regular basis.

By definition, blood diamonds can be described as diamonds mined from regions that are under the control of rebel groups fighting against national and international bodies. Sierra Leone is the most affected country. It is a small country located on the west coast of Africa. For the last two decades, the country has been having been under constant terror. The war is fought between rebel groups and the Sierra Leone government. The rebel groups took control of the richest diamond mines in Sierra Leone in the early nineties. Any profit made from the sale of diamonds is used to purchase weapons. The rebel groups are made up of teenage boys who are forced to conscript. The rebel gro-utilizes numerous different violent tactics to inflict terror on innocent people. Some of the popular tactics include Kidnapping, amputation, and torture, among others.

In numerous cases, they kidnap innocent women and children as well as old men, stick out their arms and legs, and then cut them off using crude weapons. Through such tactics, they inflict fear among the civilians.

Sierra Leone descended into bloody horror in the mid-1990s. As the war began between the rebel groups and the government-backed forces, elections were arranged, but people were supposed to vote using their thumbprints. To ensure people didn’t vote, the rebel groups began a campaign of cutting off limbs so they couldn’t vote. The violence was so intense that Nigerian troops together with the UN peacekeepers were sent to dethrone the people in power and try to bring back peace and normalcy. In the late 1990s, the rebel group and the Sierra Leone government signed a peace agreement, marking the cessation of decade-long moments of violence.

As part of the agreement, the rebel groups had to give up their weapons. This implied that the rebels would not have the resources to wage war. However, they used the remaining profits to force more civilians into slavery and excavate more diamonds to purchase new arms in what formed a continuous circle of violence. Therefore, the next time you look at that glittering stone, don’t just think of its beauty. Think of the lives that may have been lost when the piece reached your hands.

Due to the growing concerns by the international community about blood diamonds from war-torn regions such as Sierra Leone and South Africa, a meeting was conducted in May 2000 in Kimberly, South Africa, to seek ways of prohibiting the purchase or sale of diamonds from the affected regions. Later the same year, the United Nations adopted a resolution backing the certification scheme that would indicate the point of origin of any piece of diamond. The agreement came to be named the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).

While some in the business view the Kimberly process as the much-awaited solution to the conflict diamonds, the guiding principles were voluntary. They only minimized the violence but never mitigated the issue. Therefore, it was up to the consumer to buy conflict-free products or request the certificate of origin. People continued to lie and run around the newly established system. However, the more consumers there are for the certifications, the more the seller will try to ensure that the consumers are content. The biggest problem for diamond companies and African countries would be if the general public stopped buying their products completely.

The film,” Blood Diamond” is one of the key inspirations for this research. The movie demonstrates that, if people stopped buying the diamond the ordeals would stop. This is because they knew that the product cost someone’s hand. So, it’s important to speak up. This would support various organizations that have desperately tried to bring peace and help to the affected countries.

The conflict diamonds in various African countries sparked significant social problems for the country. This resulted in the collapse of the social organization of the countries. The RUF, for instance, forced underage boys and adults into slavery and the role of child soldiers to safeguard the people against the regime forces. The rebel group seized children at a very young age and trained them to use gun technology and how to slay citizens. Xxx states that “the poverty rates in Africa provide the chance of labor exploitation.” This provides opportunities for people to profit from the misery of others in various trades. His statement provides an extremely valid argument. The people of wartone countries are so poor and often live off very little resources. Therefore, for the rebel group, it seemed useful to use cruelty and exploit the civilians. The RUF wilfully captured young boys and adults, irrespective of the cost.

This would warrant that they would gain total power and control of the rich gold mines. Civilians forced to work for the rebel groups were not paid, and instead, they sided with the exploitative rules fixed by the group for them to survive. If anyone rebelled against the set rules, they were exterminated immediately. These are evident social implications that were brought to attention by these activities. Extremely young children were forced into child soldiers, compelled to kill their friends and families. The extent of mental anguish that came with being a child soldier in the end ruined their lives forever. The Sierra Leone community was socially devastated as a result of the traumatic events that the rebel group induced the children and the community at large. The civilians had the endless anxiety of whether they would ever see another day. This had a huge mental and physical impact on them. Xxx article reviews the role and the impact of the RUF on child soldiers. The author proceeds to point out that “ Many of the children were forced to depend on the manipulative adults who promised to offer them power, security and economic opportunity, that their families or the government could no longer offer.” The author states that children often look up to their parents and guardians as their key figures. However, once the children are separated from their parents, they will seek new leaders. Therefore, in the event of Sierra Leone, children were captured from their guardians by the rebel group and now looked up to their new leaders of the rebel group and their mentors and figureheads. Xxx provides the theory of “key representations of child soldiers.” This is a structure that explains the influence of the violence on child soldiers who were forced into their new roles.

The industry within Sierra Leone has resulted in significant unrest in the small West African country. The acts done by the RUF and other rebel groups were politically undeserved and were condemned by many neighboring countries. In order to understand the implications of the blood diamond, it is important to explore the political context of this nature. The Rebel group RUF was established to take over the government. Their catchphrase was “No more slavery, No more master. Power to the people.” However, this was a misrepresentative slogan. Through the catchphrase, the civilians trusted and tied up with the rebels, until they discovered their primary objective .xxx points out that “ the profits from the blood diamond was a significant representation for the armed groups to prolong the civil war.” The primary intention of the RUF was to gain total power and wealth in the nation. They didn’t have any regard for the needs of the people. The government reported that “the RUF soldiers made over 70% of human rights violations. 80% of all the clashes involved the rebels as the prime fighting group.” The violations led to political unrest throughout the entire nation. This was followed by clashes between the regime and the RUF for a decade. Beginning with the wrong understanding of the RUF’S objectives is what resulted in the ultimate collapse of the country’s political structure.

The cultivation of blood diamonds has caused bloodshed, child labor, and human rights violations. A combination of these issues has hindered the country’s overall development. These are illegally traded products that are used to support war rather than public development since the time they surfaced in the mid-1990s. They have only resulted in troubles rather than growth. The Sierra Leone community dug the mines with the hope of improving their livelihood. However, in most cases, the product was smuggled illegally to members of the government. At the peak of their production, Sierra Leone accounted for approximately 4 % of the global diamond production. RUF, together with other rebel groups, gained control of the larger and richer mines by commanding the production of diamonds. These diamonds are now spread in entire Africa, fuelling conflict. This has made blood diamonds and conflict synonymous.

Even though blood diamond gave rise to insignificant economic growth, the greater portion has been used to finance rebel groups through the purchase of weapons,

Civilians in various parts of Africa are now willing to risk their lives in order to obtain better living standards. Poverty levels in Africa are very high. Residents in impoverished regions seek any opportunity that would earn them simple daily earnings to cater for their homes as well as eat. One of the most common means of income in Sierra Leone is the search for diamonds. The opportunity cost of finding diamonds is more significant than human rights for most of the impoverished residents, in an article written by xxx. He has conducted a deep investigation into the lives of villagers who had first-hand information on how the blood diamond operated. In a small village known as Kodu, Sierra Leone is one of the most popular areas in the world where Blood Diamonds is located. However, the level of poverty is very high compared to some cities around the world. In the small town, there are no social amenities such as electricity, sanitation, or hospitals. The life average life expectancy is a mere 39 years. The author dug deeper to provide detailed information about the blood diamond. The wages of the locals could not cover even the smallest expenses on a daily basis. While the thriving diamond industry makes annual profits of approximately sixty billion dollars, most of the residents survive barely with anything.

The grueling task is to find diamonds that most thought would change their lives. Many expected that if they found diamond their lives would change for the best. They would have been able to afford better education and better healthcare as well as improve the community as a whole. However, for too many, the stingy salaries of approximately $250 per year are not worth the chance to dig up the earth in the search for the diamond. The economic struggles of the poor in Sierra Leone demonstrate the reality of the situation. Moreover, the repercussions would be severe if they were caught smuggling the diamonds out of the mines for individual purposes. Most of the miners do not have any idea what the diamond is used for. All they see is an opportunity to improve their lives. Many depend on smuggling blood diamonds in order to survive.

It is clear that blood diamonds have been one of the most controversial issues for decades because the industry has been financing weapons and violence in various regions in Africa. The illegal traders will purchase illegal diamonds in exchange for weapons to the rebel groups. The groups violate numerous human rights, such as child labor, torture, and kidnapping; however, through raising awareness in the consumer territory regarding the illegal trade of diamonds. Measures such as the Kimberly Accord and the restriction of blood diamonds should be encouraged. As a result, the illegal trade of diamonds will be systematized, and the purchase of legal products will offer numerous benefits for different regions around the world.

Blood diamonds are still being produced in the rebel-controlled regions but in high secrecy. These regions are still known as conflict diamond zones. Blood diamond is utilized by rebels to buy weapons and finance violence and various military operations against the government. Moreover, the finances are used to oppress the civilians of the affected region. The diamonds are usually seized during mining activities from legitimate workers or retrieved from forced women and children. The products are then smuggled into the international market, where they are sold as legitimate products. It is often believed that a huge number of weapon dealers and illegitimate dealers have played a key role in enabling the actions of these rebellious activities.

Diamonds are still fuelling conflict in various West African countries. In Cote d’Ivoire. Diamonds are still being mined and smuggled to neighboring countries as well as international traders. In 2017, the United Nations reported that poor regulations have allowed over $ 23 million of blood diamonds from African countries to get into the legitimate market through Ghana, where they are branded as conflict-free. The Kimberly Accord was established to prevent the trade of illegal diamonds. However, the process is not firm enough to accomplish the set objectives. Angola, DRC, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are still in the process of recovering from decade-long devastation from the diamonds’ funded wars. To date, diamonds are still being used for money laundering and organized crimes, among other illegal activities. However, the number of cases of conflict diamonds has reduced significantly due to the peace agreement signed between the various Western countries and South Africa. This could prevent any future occurrences of violence. However, unless the Kimberly accord is strengthened, diamond-fuelled wars might be experienced in the future.

Recommendations

In order to safeguard legitimate diamond trading in Africa, it is important to ensure that diamonds can never be used to fund violence. The Kimberly aAccordmust incorporate the involved governments to have a regulated system put in place that includes rigorous checks on the industry. Moreover, the diamond industry should establish meaningful systems to support the key objectives of the Kimberly Accord. Strong systems in all the involved countries will ensure that traders have sufficient assurance that the diamond is conflict-free, irrespective of its form. Therefore, it is important for the diamond industry to be committed to stopping the trade of blood diamonds and exposing individuals and organizations that are breaking the law.

It is well known within the industry that they are engaging in illegal trading, but most of the trade is still turning a blind eye. Therefore, the industry must act in conjunction with law enforcement agencies to hold those conducting trade outside the Kimberly Accord accountable. Traders also have the obligation to ask for any certifications to ensure that the product they are dealing with is conflict-free. The participating government and the NGOs should also take active roles in addressing the political, social, and economic issues facing the industry to make sure they contribute to positive development.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the diamond trade benefits many countries that are deprived of better healthcare, education, and improved infrastructure. Moreover, imposing sanctions on conflict diamonds and encouraging the rest of the world to join the legal trade would help in advancing the economies of countries such as Sierra Leone. Moreover, this will also help in improving the political and economic stability of various African countries. The legal diamond trade could also help in funding children’s education and provide many people with better healthcare. Sierra Leone, together with other affected countries, could have had a huge GDP and developed its infrastructure and education. Addition educations about illegal trade might lead to consumers stopping the cruel intentions of the rebels groups and the oppression they impose on the civilians. Informed consumers will stop purchasing blood diamonds, which has affected many countries.

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