A blood diamond refers to a diamond that is illegally sold in an effort to fund terrorism. This is a world-wide issue and is concentrated largely in African nations, but these terrorist activities also happen in a variety of countries. In nations, such as Liberia, Angola, and Sierra Leone, rebellious war labors are waged against legitimate governments. Criminal arms dealers are involved in the trade of diamonds to fund rebellious military actions. The United Nations, along with other leading international organizations, have implemented resolutions in an effort to combat this illegal trade. Millions of deaths are linked to the trafficking of blood diamonds.
Access to diamond mines in these countries are restricted, however, this does not stop the smuggling of diamonds. Terrorist organizations pay for the diamonds and resell them to other organizations that smuggle the diamonds out of the country. Funds from the resell are used to purchase weapons.
In other cases, the blood diamond is traded for weapons without the extra step of reselling. This reduces the level of traceability. The sophisticated coordination involved has led many to suspect that some governments are involved.
Blood diamonds are the ideal currency for terrorist groups since the diamond industry is traditionally isolated. It is difficult to monitor and track diamonds because blood diamonds can easily be included with legitimate diamonds. The blood diamonds vanish before it is revealed that they were included in a transaction.
Another concern raised from the illegal trade of diamonds in these countries is the labor exploitation that is often connected. Many African miners are exposed to horrific living and working conditions. These miners work without gloves, shoes, flashlights, and hard hats. The only tools they have to use are picks and ropes. Additionally, the mine shafts are unsecured and extremely dangerous. Many miners have been buried alive in the frequent accidents that have occurred. The miners receive less than a dollar for a full back-breaking work day. If they find a diamond, they might receive $50.
The blood diamond market has raised concern from various human rights organizations and other global institutions. Other countries have started efforts in an attempt to track the African diamond trade to ensure their diamonds are being purchased conflict-free. Methods have been developed to certify and track the diamonds entering other countries.
Other organizations are attempting to reduce the demand and labor for the blood diamond market. Efforts are underway to improve the working and living conditions in African communities. In conjunction with the African governments in countries affected by the blood diamond market, these organizations are improving the education systems and access to health care. The communities are also receiving better equipment to use in digging and mining.
Legitimate diamond sellers are also actively involved in trying to change the blood diamond market in Africa, realizing that illegal markets hurt their business. Africa supplies approximately 65 percent of the world’s diamonds. These efforts are targeted to make all diamonds conflict-free. This removes the connection with child labor, environmental destruction, and human rights abuses associated with the diamonds sold from Africa.
The serious political and social problems taking place because of the blood diamond market has caused many to respond. Millions of people have lost their lives as a result from this billion dollar illegal trade.
Joint efforts between human rights groups and professional organizations have lead to certificates being included with diamonds tracked in each step of the manufacturing process. This gives assurance to consumers that their purchase does not support the blood diamond trade