As Chair in 2010, of the Kimberley Process for the prevention of trade in conflict diamonds (“Blood Diamonds”) Israel is hosting a conference of working groups of the Process that is taking place against the background of reports of Zimbabwe failing to meet the requirements of the Process and the continuing infringement of human rights in the Maranga Region of Zimbabwe. This meeting is in actual fact a preparatory conference prior to the plenum meeting which will take place in Jerusalem on November 1 – 4, 2010.
The Kimberley Process started work in 2003 – it is a forum of representatives of producing countries and countries trading in diamonds and constitutes a credible system, which exercises supervision over the trade in rough diamonds. The mandate of the Process, as it has been defined by the UN Security Council, is to prevent trade in rough diamonds reaching areas under the control of rebels in West African States which enables them to use the money received in payment for these diamonds in order to finance the activities of underground organizations, arms trading, the overthrow of lawful governments and activities that infringe human rights and of citizens of some of the rough diamond producing countries. Within a short period of seven years the Kimberley Process has succeeded in reducing the trade in “blood diamonds” from 15% of the trade in rough diamonds to somewhat less than 1%.
As one of the leading centers of diamond trading worldwide, Israel has over the years, uncovered cases that can be interpreted in different ways in relation to technical issues of the Process giving rise to the monitoring of diamond consignments. At the present time, the Process lacks a body with the authority to resolve such technical disputes. Israel is seeking to set up a working group whose function would be to settle disputes of this kind.