U.N. Approves Sierra Leone's Diamond Certification Plan

August 14, 2000

U.N. Approves Sierra Leone's Diamond Certification Plan

The United Nations Security Council approved Sierra Leone's diamond certification plan last week, allowing the government to begin exporting its diamonds, the Associated Press reports. The plan calls for numbered certificates of origin printed on forgery-proof security paper to accompany all diamond exports. All diamond parcels will be sealed, labeled with a number matching the certificate number and marked with a warning that any tampering is a violation of the Security Council resolution. The numbered label must be returned by the recipient of the diamond parcel.

The Diamond High Council in Antwerp, Belgium, has offered to help Sierra Leone and design an electronic database for Sierra Leone diamond exports, with electronic confirmation of their arrival at the destination. Digital photographs of the diamonds will also accompany the documentation.

Sierra Leone officials said it could take three months before the new certification program begins operating, AP reports. Rebels in Sierra Leone still control 90% of the country's diamond mines, but the U.N. is expected to help the government regain control of mining areas.

- by Julia M. Duncan