The United States participated in the annual Kimberley Process Plenary hosted in a hybrid virtual and in-person format in Moscow, November 8–12.
The Kimberley Process is an international, multi-stakeholder initiative created to increase transparency and oversight in the diamond industry in order to eliminate trade in conflict diamonds, defined as rough diamonds sold by rebel groups or their allies to fund conflict against legitimate governments.
The United States is committed to a strong and sustainable diamond industry and has expressed concern the Kimberley Process definition of a conflict diamond does not sufficiently address consumer concerns related to human rights and other important standards.
The United States regrets that, despite genuine willingness from many Kimberley Process participants and observers, the Kimberley Process Plenary did not reach consensus on an expanded conflict diamond definition that would better reflect these pressing concerns. International endorsement for due diligence and responsible sourcing with respect to natural resources – such as diamonds – has been expressed in the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, the Lusaka Declaration pertaining to responsible treatment of natural resources in Africa, and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The United States continues to encourage our partners to express positions in the Kimberley Process that reflect these endorsements.
The United States remains gravely concerned about the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the impact on its rough diamond exports. CAR remains the only country in the world where conflict diamonds as defined by the Kimberley Process are being produced, and the United States continues to work tirelessly to balance the need for legitimate CAR exports with the Kimberley Process mandate to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the commercial supply chain. The United States is pleased that over the past two years, despite COVID-19 related challenges, CAR’s rough diamond exports from Kimberley Process-compliant zones have increased.
The United States is deeply concerned by reports of human rights abuses by elements of the Wagner Group, Russia’s proxy force, as well as members of the CAR security services, including in connection to diamond production. We call on the CAR and Russian governments to investigate these allegations thoroughly and hold perpetrators accountable, where appropriate.
We commend the Government of Botswana for its willingness to host the to-be-created Kimberley Process Permanent Secretariat (KPPS). We reiterate the need for any KPPS to have a sustainable and equitable funding mechanism that can support streamlined and efficient operational procedures once created.