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European Union Takes Over As Chair Of 'Kimberley Process'


The European Union took over as Chair of the 'Kimberley Process' (KP) as of January 2 under the leadership of High Representative Vice President Federica Mogherini who holds a type of EU foreign minister role.

The KP has been operating since 2003 when the diamond industry came together to fight the scourge of conflict diamonds which resulted from civil wars in several African states, particularly in West Africa.

The EU was vice-chair last year when Australia headed the body. India is the vice-chair this year and will chair the organization in 2019.

Mogherini said: "For the European Union, the Kimberley Process is part of our work for sustainable development. It is part of our work for sustainable peace – to prevent new conflicts and cut the revenues of criminal and terrorist groups. It is part of our work for human rights – to make sure that diamonds produce wealth, not modern slavery.

''It has spread the idea that natural resources belong to communities, not militias. The main strength of the Kimberley Process has always been that it looks beyond governments, to civil society and to the private sector. This is our main asset as we chart the way ahead. We look forward to working closely with all stakeholders in this coming year."

There is pressure from some member states and NGOs for a new definition of conflict diamonds since there are no civil wars taking place anymore, but claims that human rights of diamond miners are being trampled.

The EU is regarded as being particularly in favor of this change, however it will face stiff opposition, and the need for a consensus decision on change means it is unlikely to happen.

The KP's Intercessional meeting will be held in Antwerp in June, and the Plenary meeting will take place in Brussels in November.

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