Nov 01/10 - Pt 3: Blood Diamonds

Ten years ago, governments, diamond companies and human rights groups came together to crack down on the global trade in conflict diamonds. We talk to one of the people who helped kick-start the Kimberley Process and find out why his faith in it is slipping.


Blood Diamonds - Ian Smillie

A decade ago governments, diamond companies and human-rights advocates came together and set in motion what would become known as The Kimberley Process. It's a certification system aimed at curbing the flow of "blood diamonds" ... diamonds that fueled brutal wars in places such as Sierra Leone in the 1990s. The idea behind the Kimberley Process was simple enough -- Only countries that agreed to strict requirements could call their gems "conflict free" and participate in legitimate trade.

Today, experts credit the system with reducing conflict diamonds to less than one per cent of international diamond sales compared to as much as 15 per cent in the 1990s. But as it prepares for its annual meeting tomorrow in Jerusalem, the Kimberley Process is facing critics who say a combination of inaction and weak enforcement is threatening to undermine that progress.

Ian Smillie is a Canadian who was instrumental in getting the Kimberley Process off the ground. But he resigned from the certification system a year ago. He now chairs the Diamond Development Initiative and his new book is Blood on the Stone: Greed, Corruption and War in the Global Diamond Trade. Ian Smillie was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2003. He was in Ottawa this morning.

Last Word - Foreclosure Promo

We ended the program this morning with a preview of tomorrow's program. The Current's Howard Goldenthal headed down to Florida to look into allegations of incompetence and even corruption in the home foreclosure process there. Many of those foreclosed homes have been bought by Canadians. And now it seems they may getting dragged into the scandal too.

Howard has produced a documentary called It's A Steal. You can hear it on tomorrow's program. And one of the people you'll meet in the documentary is Paul Reyes. He's a writer -- the author of Exiles In Eden. He lives in Florida. And when writing wasn't paying, he worked for his father's business, cleaning out houses that have been foreclosed. We gave him the last word this morning.

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