The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is engaged in an ethnically-charged tribal war that has seen nearly six million people killed in the past 10 years. Poverty and disease are rampant, with little money available for medicine, education or infrastructure. Child abuse, rape and sexual assault are common. Yet, the country is incongruously rich in mineral resources, so where is the money going? Diamonds are regularly smuggled out of the country and slipped into world markets without a trace of their bloody, inhumane origins.
Fortunately, neighboring Angola, into which Congolese diamonds are frequently smuggled, is taking a stand. The Angolan government has allocated $13 million to increase military patrols on its border with the DRC, in an effort to stop hundreds of illegal diamond smugglers from crossing the border. Angola’s immigration office has recently reported that over 62,000 illegal immigrants had been deported from Angola’s eastern diamond provinces. While the government did not specify whether the deported immigrants were diamond smugglers, we can only hope that this is a good start to halting the smuggling from the DRC.
It is clear that diamond smuggling is still happening on a large scale. While attempts are being made to curb illegal diamond trading on a smaller scale, there is still currently no diamond certification scheme that has been able to keep conflict diamonds out of international markets. It remains critical for consumers to investigate their sources and ensure that any diamonds they purchase were ethically obtained. Consumers can empower themselves to make ethical purchases by knowing which questions to ask. Learn more about the fair labor practices and environmental initiatives that make a Canadian or Namibian diamond a responsible choice.