Artisanal miners face
government abuse and
We are providing funding for an innovative education initiative to improve how governments regulate artisanal diamond mining. Many of the world’s diamonds come from countries where governments are inefficient and corrupt, and potentially inhumane. Governments often fail to enforce labor and environmental standards, leaving artisanal diamond diggers subject to dangerous and abusive working conditions. Some governments also try to stop unlicensed mining by sending soldiers or police offers to the diamond fields, resulting in violence.
Our contribution is helping to establish new artisanal diamond mining programs that pay fair wages and that respect workers and the environment.
Our non-profit partner, the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), has created a human rights curriculum for governments on alleviating human rights abuses and improving transparency in artisanal diamond mining. With Brilliant Earth’s support, the DDI is launching a pilot program in at least one diamond producing country. The DDI will then work with other diamond producing countries to improve education for regulating artisanal mining. By helping governments adopt best practices and follow international norms, we believe we can help stop or prevent many human rights abuses.
Brilliant Earth’s funding for government training represents an effort to help address a core weakness in the Kimberley Process, the international diamond certification scheme. The Kimberley Process, founded in 2002, has focused most of its energies on banning “conflict diamonds,” which it narrowly defines as diamonds that fund rebel groups in war-torn countries. The Kimberley Process has done little to stop routine human rights abuses, such as worker exploitation and child labor. It also has been reluctant to ban diamonds from countries such as Angola and Zimbabwe, where government soldiers have used killings, torture, beatings, and rape to gain control over local populations and seize the diamond wealth.
We have long criticized the Kimberley Process for certifying as “conflict free” diamonds tainted by serious human rights abuses. We continue to believe that the Kimberley Process should not grant “conflict free” certification to blood-stained diamonds. But we also think that the Kimberley Process could play a useful role by helping diamond producing countries to improve their regulations in artisanal diamond mining. By funding this project, we hope to encourage the Kimberley Process to make government training an important part of its future.
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