The world's diamond industry approved the ban on "conflict diamonds" that fund some of Africa's bloodiest civil wars, agreeing to adopt strict measure that monitor manufacturing centers. People at the World Diamond Congress, held in Belgium on July 19th, promised to institute an International Diamond Council, which would regulate the expulsion of traders and potentially prosecute them with criminal charges. The industry's move has been praised by non-governmental organizations, the U.N., and governments that have long pushed for corporate responsibility. Conflict diamonds have partly fueled a multitude of brutal wars in Africa, where hundreds of thousands are left raped, mutilated, and killed in Sierra Leone, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. According to Human Rights Watch and U.N. groups, women and girls as young as the age of 10 were repeatedly raped and tortured by rebel forces in Sierra Leone.
Media Resources: Financial Times - 21 July 2000 BBC News - 19 July