CUTTING REMARKS: Why the NGOs and Dubai Still Can’t Get Along – by Rob Bates (JCKonline.com – May 12, 2016)

http://www.jckonline.com/

A worrisome sign about whether all sides in the Kimberley Process can continue to work together

There have been so many feuds and boycotts and crises in the Kimberley Process over the years that it can be difficult keeping up with them all, never mind caring. But recently, mediation that attempted to end civil society’s boycott of this year’s KP meetings came to a premature halt, which represents a worrisome sign about whether the various sides in the KP can continue to work together—and more importantly, whether the industry can continue to reform itself.

Last year, the KP civil society coalition—composed of the 11 human rights groups that participate in the KP—announced plans to boycott this year’s KP meetings after frequent antagonist United Arab Emirates ascended to the position of chair. Afterward, the World Diamond Council commenced silent talks between the NGOs and UAE to end the spat. This week, those talks broke down.

As a result, not only did the two sides fail to bridge any gaps, but now relations between the two are as bitter as ever. (A spokesperson for the UAE KP chair declined comment.)

Beyond all the posturing from the two sides, there are real issues here. Ever since the UAE came onto the scene, there have been murmurs about how it has risen in the industry so far, so fast. The NGOs charge the center has lax controls and that it’s a haven for transfer pricing, where diamonds are undervalued in Africa and then sold for market price when they leave the UAE.

The civil society coalition asked for four things during the mediation to end the boycott: a system of internal controls to prevent undervaluation of diamonds; enforcement cooperation with trading partners; greater vigilance to prevent illicit diamonds from entering the supply chain; and engagement with watchdog groups. Civil society coalition spokesperson Alan Martin says none of those conditions were met.

For the rest of this column, click here: http://www.jckonline.com/blogs/cutting-remarks/2016/05/12/why-ngos-and-dubai-still-cant-get-along

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