October 11, 2002
WDC Pledges Industry Will Play Active Role in Kimberley Rules
Responding to publicized remarks from several prominent human rights groups, the World Diamond Council released a statement Oct. 9, 2002, saying it will continue to participate in the Kimberley certification program after it is enacted in 2003. The English group Global Witness and the Canadian group Partnership Africa Canada questioned recently whether the industry will follow through on its promises to monitor and audit compliance with the Kimberley rules.
"We fully accept the industry's continuing responsibility to play an active role in assuring that the practices envisioned by the Kimberley Process have real impact over the long term," reads a statement issued by Eli Izhakoff, WDC chairman and CEO, and Matthew Runci, WDC executive director. "Governmental action, while critical to the program's success, is insufficient by itself. The self-regulation required of WDC constituents is vital as well, and the industry is committed to fulfilling its obligation in step with governments. Individuals or companies that fail to observe the new rules will pay a high price for that failure.
"We are also sensitive to the sentiment of some allies who contend that the Kimberley Process regimen does not go far enough. While we understand the basis for that viewpoint, we are persuaded that to attempt any changes now, on the brink of global implementation, would serve to delay implementation perhaps indefinitely. Most of the governments involved share our view.
"Now is the time to move forward. All concerned parties should be doing everything possible to make the measures already agreed upon a reality. Once in operation, their effectiveness should be evaluated. That experience will allow participants to detect and remedy any flaws that may exist. The World Diamond Council is also determined to advance that ongoing effort."
Participating governments and private groups involved in the Kimberley Process are meeting on Nov. 5 in Interlaken, Switzerland, to implement the worldwide certification program, scheduled to go into effect in early 2003.
by Peggy Jo Donahue