Blood Diamonds Essay Example
Blood Diamonds Essay Example

Blood Diamonds Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (1077 words)
  • Published: June 1, 2017
  • Type: Case Study
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Resource scarcity often drives major conflicts around the world, but the precise role of these resources in sparking conflicts is often misconstrued. While disputes over resource control can be a contributing factor, other factors such as corrupt leaders, religion, debt, etc. may exacerbate a given conflict. Thus, it can be difficult to pinpoint which elements bear responsibility for a particular conflict. Many African nations are no strangers to resource conflicts due to their abundance of coveted minerals and natural resources desired by other nations.

Sierra Leone faced various problems that led to the emergence of a civil war. The diamond mining industry, which accounts for half of the country's exports and a significant portion of its annual income, has played a crucial role in this conflict. Diamonds in Sierra Leone have financed the purchase of weapons, fueled corruption, and at


tracted international attention, resulting in multiple interventions. Therefore, diamonds are primarily responsible for the strife in Sierra Leone. The trade of "Blood diamonds" financed Sierra Leone's civil war from 1991 to 2002 since these diamonds were used to buy weapons. The Revolutionary United Front (RUF), which sought to take over the government and profit from the valuable diamonds, led to the civil war.

In their quest to acquire as many diamonds as possible, the RUF would inflict trauma on diamond-mining villages, mistreating workers and carrying out amputations of limbs when they refused to surrender their precious diamonds. In April 1998, Ibrahim Fofana experienced the horrors when the RUF attacked his village in Eastern Sierra Leone, an area responsible for mining over 75% of the nation's diamonds. Despite declaring that he had no diamonds to surrender, Ibrahim suffered the

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gruesome fate of having both his hands chopped off while his neighbor was killed for the same reason (The African Conflict).

Sierra Leone witnessed the mutilation of over 10,000 individuals who had no diamonds in their possession, resulting in the need for amputation. The RUF illegally traded these diamonds to acquire powerful weapons, perpetuating violence and creating a bloodbath. The group then recruited and drugged young boys, turning them into child soldiers armed with AK47 assault rifles. These innocent individuals were forced to fight for the corrupt cause of the rebel groups. It's important to note that both sides utilized child soldiers in this battle.

According to the UN, children under 18 make up 25% of the government forces fighting in Sierra Leone (Shah). Additionally, it is believed that the diamonds from this region financed the government’s purchase of arms, although they may not have been obtained illegally like those involved in the "Blood Diamond" controversy. The illegal diamond trading industry established by the RUF was sufficient to support their military and future aspirations, providing them with yearly revenues of $25 million to $125 million (UN Report). Consequently, diamonds and their quantity play a significant role in fueling warfare in Sierra Leone. These precious stones provide the necessary funds for weapons, which perpetuated the civil war for a longer period. Furthermore, Sierra Leone’s diamonds led to an escalation of corruption in the region. This problem emerged when Sikia Stevens became prime minister in 1968 and realized the vast profit potential of the diamond trade industry.

By engaging in illegal diamond mining and trading in Sierra Leone, he generated significant profits, leading to the emergence of the "Blood diamonds"

concept as more people followed suit. The 1990s civil war was also influenced by the desire to control diamond mines, resulting in a more lucrative trading system. Despite the United Nations implementing measures to prevent illicit diamond activity, corruption still exists within the industry.

Despite legal processes, individuals always find ways to circumvent them. Liberia is currently receiving smuggled diamonds, marketed and distributed illicitly to the international diamond industry. Rebel organizations like RUF trade diamonds in the prohibited, but highly profitable manner. Sierra Leone is still confronted with corruption, even after the civil war. Given their status as one of the poorest countries globally, removing it will be a nearly impossible task.

Massive corruption within Sierra Leone has been caused by the density of diamonds. The international community had to intervene due to the violence resulting from the Diamond conflict. In 1999, UN Peacekeeping and the Sierra Leone government organized a peace deal amidst the Human Rights Watch concerns. This deal involved a disarmament process for rebel soldiers, specifically in regions close to areas abundant in diamonds. However, RUF rebels held captive several UN Peacekeeping troops, resulting in British Troops deployment. While initially sent to evacuate British citizens, the British Troops aided the Sierra Leone Government in capturing the rebel group leaders (Anup).

At the end of the civil war, the United Nations intervened in Sierra Leone to implement new measures aimed at ending illegal diamond trading. One of these measures was the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme. This scheme requires a documented process that verifies the source of rough diamonds in an effort to reduce the number of blood diamonds leaving Sierra Leone and entering global diamond

trade. Human Rights advocates expect that this scheme will eventually lessen the use of blood diamonds worldwide. However, the scheme has not had a significant impact on general human security conditions in Sierra Leone.

The emergence of violence in Sierra Leone brought attention to blood diamonds, making many diamond corporations cautious about the origin of their diamonds. The public's dislike for blood diamonds caused a decrease in sales for those corporations who were unable to verify the source of their gems. To address these concerns, the Kimberly Process was implemented, proving useful in determining the source of the diamonds. Though the United Nations' implemented systems have had a positive impact on illegal diamond trading, Sierra Leone's government has admitted difficulty in controlling corrupt mining practices, requiring further international assistance. Ultimately, Sierra Leone's rich diamond concentration is a significant factor contributing to various conflicts that require ongoing resolution efforts.

Due to the high profits of diamond trade, many individuals resort to corruption and greed in order to acquire them. This has led to numerous outbreaks of violence in Sierra Leone, with the diamonds themselves contributing significantly to the progression of wars. The need for international intervention has arisen as a result. The abundance of lucrative natural resources in lesser-developed African countries like Sierra Leone has resulted in dire consequences. However, if these resources were present in more developed countries like Europe or America, would similar issues arise? Furthermore, would the resolution of such issues differ in these countries?

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