Sierra Leone used ‘blood diamonds’ because the country had a civil war from 1999 to 2001. There was illegal diamond mining; this money was used to buy weapons and sustain the war. The Revolutionary United Front controlled diamond mines in order to gain access to financing and constant support for their actions. For example, they produced up to $125 million of diamonds during that time (Asangna 105). Since diamonds are used as a source of funding, they also create opportunities for evasion of taxes and financial support of criminality. Although the country has elected a new government, Sierra Leone remains in a precarious political situation. The enormous consequences of the blood diamonds continue to be Sierra Leone’s main problem. One of the largest issues is that security forces are still abusing people, including rape and the use of excessive force on detainees (Asangna 106). The abuse of civilians and child labor are other serious injustices that have occurred in Sierra Leone since the civil conflicts.
Since they needed huge numbers of workers, the United Front forces began to kidnap people and enslave young people; children were forced to join the army as soldiers, and women were raped. Thousands of men, women, and kids were operated as slaves to collect diamonds, and they were forced to search in the mud along the river banks with their bare hands instead of digging with tools. One of the main circumstances of the ongoing war was that a government already dealing with corruption and a collapsed economy could not protect the country (Schulte 4558). Thus, the responsibility lay with the state, which should have prohibited the illegal production of diamonds rather than creating corrupt schemes. It is significant to mention that the international community and international law have tried to help resolve the conflict between the government and the rebel groups.
The international community has tried to prevent blood diamonds for years, but no means have been completely effective. On a universal level, the Kimberley Certification System controls the industry, which exists to ensure that every buyer can verify the origin of the goods they purchase (Meagher 243). This process has reduced lawlessness but has not stopped it, and Sierra Leone is still a state with loopholes in sales, corruption, and continued extraction, even though the war has ended. The United Nations and the rest of the human rights organizations should think of another option of measures to prevent illegal products from reaching the world market.
That way, if it is impossible to market conflict diamonds, mining will stop because it will no longer be a source of income. A possible and effective solution would be to create legal and regulatory actions, which would oblige states to observe controls, provide recommendations on security measures and deprive them of the ability to decide for themselves how to prevent diamonds from getting into the trade. A legal regulator at the universal level is especially necessary for Sierra Leone, as it is a weak and unstable state with a government that cannot effectively control the mining process. It is advisable to create a body at the national level responsible for checking the presence of uncertified gems which will have the ability to impose sanctions. Equally important is the control of corruption, as the latter is the reason for the authorities to cover up illegal actions.
Asangna, Clotilde. ‘An Examination of the Sierra Leone War.’ African Journal of Political Science and International Relations, vol. 11, no. 5, 2017, pp.103-111.
Meagher, Ruby. ‘A Kimberley Process for Conflict Antiquities: Determining the Viability of a Cultural Property Certification Scheme.’ New Zealand Journal of Public and International Law, vol. 17, no. 2, 2019, pp. 215-254.
Schulte, Meike, Sreejith Balasubramanian, and Cody Morris Paris. ‘Blood Diamonds and Ethical Consumerism: An Empirical Investigation.’ Sustainability, vol. 13, no. 8, 2021, pp. 4558.