Conflict Diamonds Are Crossing Into Cameroon, Report Says

SourcingDec 07, 2016

Conflict Diamonds Are Crossing Into Cameroon, Report Says

Partnership Africa Canada alleges in a new report that conflict diamonds from the Central African Republic are reaching international markets via Cameroon.

Ottawa--Partnership Africa Canada just came out with a new report in which the organization calls attention to the trade in conflict diamonds between the Central African Republic and the neighboring nation of Cameroon.

Authored by Offah Obale, PAC’s Ottawa-based conflict minerals researcher who traveled to Cameroon in the spring, the report states that conflict diamonds from the Central African Republic, or CAR, are being either smuggled through Cameroon and exported through other African countries, or being given fake Kimberley Process certificates in Cameroon.

This map, provided by Partnership Africa Canada, outlines the alleged flow of conflict diamonds from the Central Africa Republic into Cameroon.
The report also alleges that the KP focal point in Cameroon, Safana Mbita, is implicit in helping to move these diamonds from CAR through the country, though PAC noted that he denied all allegations when confronted.

The CAR diamonds are then shipped to the world’s main trading and manufacturing hubs, namely India, the United Arab Emirates--which is the nation heading the Kimberley Process for 2016--and Belgium, PAC said in its report.

PAC based its reports on its conversations with individuals, more than 40 in total, on the ground in Cameroon as well as what it says are inaccurate production statistics reported by Cameroonian officials--what the country reports as production to the KP is well above its capacity, meaning that many of the diamonds being exported with Cameroonian KP certificates are actually being mined elsewhere.

In light of the report, PAC is calling upon the KP to place Cameroon under special measures and require it to tighten its internal controls within a three-month period, with no rough diamonds leaving the country during the time period without expert, external oversight.

The organization also is calling for the KP to blacklist individuals and companies that are part of the alleged illicit trade of CAR conflict diamonds in Cameroon.

CAR is the only source of traditionally defined conflict, or “blood,” diamonds in the world today--diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces opposed to legitimate governments and are used to fund military action against those governments.

CAR was banned from exporting rough diamonds entirely for the last several years before the Kimberley Process reinstated exports from certain regions of the country this year.

When asked about the PAC’s report, KP Chair Ahmed Bin Sulayem responded with a letter in which he said that the KP’s monitoring team in CAR is aware that
there are conflict diamonds crossing into Cameroon, and that they have been investigating it for several months, noting that the team has an upcoming review visit to the nation.

He also said they are in “full agreement” with PAC’s recommendation that the governments of CAR and Cameroon revoke the trading licenses of individuals and companies that engage in illicit trade and hold them accountable.

When questioned about specifics in the report--including a shipment of 359 carats of what were possibly conflict diamonds to the UAE in March and the accusation that the KP focal point on the ground in Cameroon is implicit in illicit trade--officials from the UAE told National Jeweler via email that they have alerted members of the Cameroon review team to identify “possible wrongdoing” around this particular shipment, and said that its call for accountability includes any KP officials caught in illicit trade.

In his letter, Bin Sulayem also reiterated the UAE’s call for a permanent secretariat under the United Nations to address situations like those the KP is currently facing in CAR.

This issue of a permanent secretariat is one that was addressed at the KP’s recent plenary meeting, though its passage remains a subject of debate.

In its email exchange with National Jeweler on Wednesday, the UAE strongly reaffirmed its stance that the KP did indeed approve a permanent secretariat at the plenary, while other KP member nations and the KP’s Civil Society Coalition maintain that the KP merely recognized the UAE’s efforts on this front and tabled further discussion until next year.

Those on both sides of the issue do acknowledge, however, that the details of the permanent secretariat still have to be worked out under the incoming chair nation, Australia. Bin Sulayem stated as much in his letter: “As KP chair, we hope that the first steps toward implementation of the KP permanent secretariat can be carried out under our successor.”

This means that the permanent secretariat is not a function that’s going to be immediately available to address the current situation between CAR and Cameroon and that, PAC Executive Director Joanne Lebert said, is what is needed.

“We don’t have to wait for a secretariat,” she said, while noting that PAC is in favor of its establishment. “These are traditional blood diamonds. The KP should be taking active measures now.”

PAC’s entire report, “From Conflict to Illicit,” is available on
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

The Latest

Recorded WebinarsMay 27, 2022
Watch: The 5 Things I Always Take to a Trade Show

Editor-in-Chief Michelle Graff is joined by three industry veterans to talk about the items they never leave behind and why.

CollectionsMay 27, 2022
92Y Has Selected its 2022 Artist in Residence

German jewelry artist Alexander Blank is the fourth designer to receive the honor.

CollectionsMay 27, 2022
Piece of the Week: Which Movie Inspired This Chopard Masterpiece?

The answer is “Hair,” and the necklace is from Chopard’s 2022 Red Carpet Collection, rolled out at the Cannes Film Festival.

Brought to you by
3 Reasons to Offer Estate Buying at Your Store

Provide your customers with a seamless selling solution by partnering with Windsor Jewelers, Inc.

Supplier BulletinMay 26, 2022
Extraordinary Italian Jewelry at JCK and COUTURE

Sponsored by Italian Trade Agency

Weekly QuizMay 26, 2022
This Week’s Quiz
Test your knowledge of the latest jewelry news with this quick test.
Take the Quiz
AuctionsMay 26, 2022
Bonhams New York Jewels Auction Is a White Glove Sale

Jewelry and objects belonging to Bette Midler, heiress Hélène Irwin Crocker Fagan, and Lady Sylvia Ashley were among the highlights.

FinancialsMay 26, 2022
Movado Posts Record Q1 Sales Despite ‘Challenging’ US Market

The company opted not to raise its fiscal guidance, citing a slowdown in the U.S. market as a key reason.

Brought to you by
Dive into GIA’s Pearl Expertise

When it comes to knowing the identity and quality of your pearls, count on GIA as your independent pearl experts.

TechnologyMay 26, 2022
State of Retail: The Pros and Cons of 4 Jewelry-Selling Platforms

From “old-school” eBay to new kid on the block 1stDibs, we asked jewelers about their experiences selling jewelry in non-traditional places.

Policies & IssuesMay 26, 2022
Barbara Wheat Named Executive Director of Ethical Metalsmiths

She has nearly 30 years’ experience in the gem and jewelry industry and a background in nonprofit management.

EditorsMay 25, 2022
7 Standout Tiaras in Sotheby’s Platinum Jubilee Exhibition

Senior Editor Brecken Branstrator chooses the pieces she’d most want to see in person.

MajorsMay 25, 2022
Anne Hathaway Is Bulgari’s Newest Ambassador

The actress joins Zendaya and others in a new advertising campaign.

IndependentsMay 25, 2022
The Mexican Shack to Close After 47 Years

Owner Steve Delzio shares his thoughts on retirement after nearly five decades in the jewelry industry.

IndependentsMay 25, 2022
Designer Theo Fennell Has Written a Memoir

“I Fear for This Boy” takes readers through the ups and downs of his business and is available for pre-order now.

IndependentsMay 25, 2022
MVEye, Wedding Report Partner on New Jewelry Research Platform

“Today’s Wedding Jewelry Consumer” shares data about engagement ring market size, lab-grown and natural diamonds, and more.

ColumnistsMay 24, 2022
The PR Adviser: 10 Questions to Contemplate

Columnist Lilian Raji wants to walk you through the customer journey. But first, she’d like you to answer a few questions.

Events & AwardsMay 24, 2022
8 Gold Jewelry Designers Unveil New Platinum Designs

Several Couture brands have partnered with Platinum Guild International ahead of the jewelry trade show.

Lab-GrownMay 24, 2022
Kendra Scott Unveils Lab-Grown Engagement Ring Collection

The jewelry company is moving into bridal just a month after branching out into the watch world.

Events & AwardsMay 24, 2022
WJA to Host Diversity Keynote at New Las Vegas Breakfast Event

The Generating Community Impact fundraiser on June 11 will feature Karine Bah Tahé of Blue Level Training.

WatchesMay 23, 2022
Steven Kaiser, Watch Industry Veteran and Beloved Mentor, Dies at 68

Kaiser, whose illustrious career spanned decades, died suddenly on Friday.

IndependentsMay 23, 2022
Long’s Jewelers to Open New Location

The family-owned jeweler is relocating its Braintree, Massachusetts, store to a new space.

IndependentsMay 23, 2022
Luxury Goods Veteran Olivier Stip Joins Chicago Jeweler CD Peacock

He will step into the retailer’s newly created role of chief development officer.

GradingMay 23, 2022
Gem-A Launches Digital Entry-Level Gemology Course

GemIntro is meant to give a broad introduction to gems and gemology.

Recorded WebinarsMay 20, 2022
Watch: Responsible Sourcing and the Gold Supply Chain

Three industry experts discuss “recycled” gold vs. mined, their challenges and benefits, and how jewelers can navigate the area.

FinancialsMay 20, 2022
Richemont’s 2022 Jewelry Sales in the Americas Nearly Double

Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Buccellati put on stellar performances.

AuctionsMay 20, 2022
Piece of the Week: ‘Birds in Flight’ by Oscar Heyman

The New York jeweler made this incredible, colorful Art Deco bracelet featuring tropical birds in 1927.

SurveysMay 19, 2022
5 Predictions for Jewelry Retail in the Second Half of 2022

From a slowdown in sales growth to rising costs, Fruchtman Marketing outlines its expectations for the second half of the year.


This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy