If you were wondering what is a blood diamond, you are not alone. It is estimated that over 3.7 million people have been killed in diamond-fueled wars. The diamond industry has been accused of contributing to the killing of civilians in Angola, Democratic Republic Congo and Sierra Leone. In addition, the smuggling of blood diamonds into the legitimate industry has also been condemned.
3.7 million people
Throughout the 20th century and the 21st century, diamonds have played a key role in fueling conflicts. In seven African countries, over 3.7 million people have been killed due to diamond-fueled wars.
A number of sub-Saharan African countries have experienced a brutal civil war fueled by diamonds. Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and Zimbabwe are just a few examples.
According to research, a staggering 3.7 million people have died in these blood-diamond-fueled wars. These include both children and adults. Hundreds of thousands of people are injured or maimed by diamond-related violence. Some of these victims have their limbs amputated.
The United Nations and other international bodies have taken notice of the role that diamonds play in fueling conflict. They have imposed embargoes on the trade of weapons and diamonds, which have been illegally traded to finance insurgent groups. However, diamonds continue to be mined in areas where conflict exists.
Smuggling of blood diamonds
Blood diamonds have a long history of being used to fund wars and other violent activities. However, the trade has also fueled criminal elements and corrupt government officials.
Blood diamonds originate in conflict zones, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone. The diamonds are usually smuggled into the international diamond trade.
In the past, blood diamonds were commonly used to fund wars in Africa. But the diamond industry is now being accused of exploiting mines in unstable countries. Some nations have even been able to profit from the trade, such as Zimbabwe.
The Kimberley Process, an international diamond certification scheme, was created to stop the trade of illicit stones. But critics claim that the process is too bureaucratic and does little to curb the supply of diamonds to armed groups.
After the Kimberley Process was introduced, diamond companies began tracking the source of stones. However, they have been found to be less transparent than consumers would like.
Contributing to warlords
Diamonds from conflict zones have been labeled as ‘blood diamond‘. They are a source of income to warlords in Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola. Moreover, they are an exploitation of communities and workers. Consequently, it is a source of death and destruction.
The Kimberley Process is an attempt to control the trade of rough diamonds. However, the process has ignored human rights issues in Angola. In 2015, the process has chosen Angola as its leader.
In the 1990s, the National Union for Total Independence of Angola (NUTI) led by Jonas Savimbi raised several billion dollars by selling diamonds. However, it also financed violent insurrections and rape.
Several African countries were plunged into chaos during the 1990s. Some of these countries were prone to protracted civil wars. During the civil war in Sierra Leone, over 75,000 people died and over 500,000 refugees were displaced.
During the conflict, women were abused and taken into the bush to be domestic sex slaves. Rape was used as a weapon of war and the intention was to break up families.