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Ronnie VanderLinden

IDMA President

The World Diamond Council: Nobody else is doing a better job

June 26, 2022 –  The Las Vegas shows concluded earlier this month. While exhibitors reported brisk business, we’ll have to wait and see before we can draw definite conclusions about how this coming holiday sales season will develop.

As usual, Rapaport’s annual breakfast conference at the JCK show was well attended, both in person and online. At the event, Martin Rapaport argued that “the Kimberley Process proactively certifies Blood Diamonds and other diamonds involved in human rights violations. These KP certificates are then used to legitimize the export, sale and payment for these diamonds. The KP certifies sanctioned Russian and Marange [Zimbabwe ed.] diamonds.”

And: “The Kimberley Process is the primary force promoting the sale and distribution of blood diamonds. It is the washing machine for dirty diamonds and dirty diamonds.

In addition, Rapaport also distributed a petition that urged jewelry trade members to demand that the World Diamond Council (WDC) resign from the Kimberley Process.

Martin Rapport is to be lauded for his continuous efforts in making the diamond industry and trade more ethical, responsible, and responsive to the cause of the poor and disadvantaged in the diamond supply chain. He said that “there is a reason G-d gave diamonds to the poorest people of the world and made the richest desire them. Bridging that gap,” he said, “is ‘Tikkun Olam,’ fixing the world.” This is not only a lofty but also righteous objective that we can all identify with and rally behind.

However, Martin Rapaport is not taking an active role in the work of the WDC, nor is he an active member of the Civil Society Coalition that does a sterling job in putting the finger on the weaknesses and deficiencies of the KP. Therefore, Martin’s valid and valuable arguments will reverberate in a void unless he engages in presenting viable solutions. As the expression goes: “Bachelors’ wives and maidens’ children are well taught.”

Unfortunately, the recent KP intersessional in Botswana did not yield tangible results regarding broadening the definition of conflict diamonds. Still, WDC President Edward Asscher expressed his confidence that the KP participants have shown increasing willingness to achieve that objective.

IDMA is an active WDC member. We believe that we have played a crucial role at KP meetings – both at Intersessionals and Plenaries – in playing the advocate’s devil, pushing for structural change of the KP’s “business model.” This change includes the broadening of the KP’s mission statement and an overhaul of its voting system.

Therefore, instead of demanding that the WDC disengage itself from the KP, it should be supported and encouraged to continue to play its crucial role. The WDC’s recently updated its System of Warranties to tackle irresponsible and non-compliant companies. I believe that, together with other organizations, NGOs, and members of civil society, the WDC must and will play an increasingly important role in protecting the integrity of the diamond supply chain. Right now, nobody else is doing a better job.

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