Mr. Butler & Ms. Flath
4A English I, 4B World Geography
6 February 2013
The Issue of Blood Diamonds
What is the cause of major rebellions, riots, and coups in Africa? The blood diamond trade is one of the strongest illegal trades in Africa, which has been fueling conflict for approximately three decades. The primary purpose of blood diamond trading contributes to funding armed conflicts for guerrilla and militant forces. The diamonds are illegally mined in a conflict zone, which is then used by guerrilla forces to fight and rebel against government forces, the effect of which can be seen throughout most conflict-ridden nations of Africa. These precious stones saw a major use during the post-Cold War era, which funded for many conflicts in Africa. The blood diamond trade is the perfect example of natural resources in Africa being used for corrupt actions, trades, and conflict that must be prevented to save lives. International attention must be sought and more jurisdictions should be taken into action. The issue of blood diamonds must be taken seriously before more innocent blood is shed and lives are lost, as in the past.
Many countries that are notoriously affected with the issue of the blood diamond trade are Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly known as Zaire), Zimbabwe, the Republic of Congo, and Cote d’Ivoire (Armstrong). In the early 1980’s, the early forms of the blood diamond trade began to surface in these nations. However major campaigns of the blood diamond trade began in the 1990’s, especially after the end of the Cold War era (Armstrong). Mining conditions were poor as workers earned around seven cents a day, but they were willing to work through these horrible conditions as they hoped for a better life by mining for blood diamonds, which would be a quick way to prosper and help their family (Armstrong).
One excellent example of blood diamonds contributing towards a civil conflict can be seen in the nation of Liberia during the Liberian Civil War between 1983-2003 (Doyle). The UN and global community accused the Liberian president Charles G. Taylor of supporting, training, and distributing weapons to insurgents of Sierra Leone in exchange for diamonds (Brown). Liberia was also accused of supplying blood diamonds to al-Qaeda, as this was the root cause of the bombing of U.S. embassies in 1998. The U.N. retaliated by applying sanctions during 2001. This act prevented Liberia from trading conflict diamonds with Sierra Leone as it caused turmoil (Brown). After the conflicts in Liberia, the nation is now a member of the Kimberley Certification Process as it has constructed a legitimate mining industry to ensure a clean diamond trade (Global Policy Forum)
A second example of blood diamonds contributing towards conflict can be seen in the nation of Cote d’Ivoire (Reuters). A civil conflict in Cote d’Ivoire overthrew the central government of the country by a coup, causing a major civil war in the country (Reuters). It was soon discovered that blood diamonds were the root cause of the coup and the civil war in Cote d’Ivoire because the nation became a major blood diamond exporter and trading center along with Liberia (Brown). The U.N. retaliated to the conflict by ordering sanctions on all diamond mining and trading in the nation of Cote d’Ivoire to prevent further blood diamond trading and civil war. Sanctions on Cote d’Ivoire was lifted at the end of 2003 as the Kimberley Certification Process came into affect in Cote d’Ivoire.
The nation of Sierra Leone was known to be the most notorious for the blood diamond trade (Brown). The issue of blood diamonds was discovered in Sierra Leone in 1991. Conflict began in 1991, when Revolutionary United Forces (R.U.F.) crossed over from the Liberia-Sierra Leone border and attacked towns and villages in...