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Diamonds Are Forever (Funding Civil War)

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A diamond may last you forever; unfortunately, lives cannot and are often cut short by the sale of diamonds. Blood diamonds are the cause of thousands of deaths all across Africa. Blood diamonds are diamonds that are mined and sold in order to help fund civil wars, or terrorist groups. The Sierra Leone has a major problem with Blood Diamonds. Blood diamonds are mined out of the Sierra Leone and then sold to help purchase weapons used in fighting a civil war. Now these weapons are not just simple handguns, but the weapons purchased are radical arms used in serious warfare. The National Security Council has been doing everything in its power to strengthen and lengthen arms and diamond embargoes

to help fight the civil war and yet it continues. Angola has had many of the same problems as the Sierra Leone. Angola has been at war with it's self since 1975. The UN has tried to intervene in Angola's affairs by having an election in 1992, which caused even more problems. Much like Sierra Leone, diamond embargoes

have been placed on Angola to help keep diamonds from funding the massive destruction of people in the country. An in depth history will be provided for the two countries along with an explanation as to how significant blood diamonds are to these two countries. Political institutions will be identified that help deal with this issue along with political officials that are helping the cause. Blood diamonds have drastic impact on these two countries for the future, but the future doesn't have to be dark for these two African countries.

The Sierra Leone is a far from peaceful place. They've had problems with a civil war that was funded primarily through blood diamonds. In July 1999, after eight years plus of civil conflict, negotiations between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) led to the signing of the Lome Peace Agreement under which the parties agreed to a cease fire, disarmament of all combatants and the formation of a government of national unity. The United Nations and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) helped facilitate the negotiations. Following international concern from the blood diamond trade that fueled conflict in Sierra Leone, the National Security Council adopted a resolution imposing a ban on the direct or indirect import of rough diamonds from Sierra Leone not controlled by the Government of Sierra Leone through a Certificate of Origin regime. A hearing was held in 2000 with the National Security Council in New York. They discussed the link between the sale of these diamonds and the sale of radical arms used in the civil struggles of the country. Since then, the Security Council has been doing everything it can to strengthen and lengthen arms and diamond embargoes

in Sierra Leone to help fight the civil war.

Angola has been in a civil war since it gained its independence in 1975. Portugal refused a decolonization process and three independent movements emerged. One of which was UNITA, which stands for the Union for the Total Independence of Angola. UNITA has been a huge part of the civil war in Angola. In 1992 the UN monitored an election that took place in Angola. UNITA refused to accept the results of this election and civil war continued. After the election the Security Council imposed an arms embargo and a petroleum sanction against UNITA. Trouble continued later when UNITA refused to comply with the 1994 Lusaka Protocol peace agreement. So in 1998 the Security Council adopted a resolution that prohibited the direct or indirect import from Angola to their territory of all diamonds not controlled through the Certificate of Origin issued by the Government of Angola, as well as imposing financial sanctions on UNITA. Hopefully, this would help stall the funds going to UNITA from Blood Diamonds.

Sierra Leone has had a significant amount of diamonds in circulation on the "black market". In 1999, Sierra Leone's official reported diamond exports were about $1.2 million, compared to a conservative industry estimate of nearly $70 million as the actual value. The other 68 million of estimated value was lost among criminal and illicit activity. Local and international smuggling has allowed the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) to market diamonds in international markets. Blood diamonds can be found all over the world, and possibly on you or your wife's finger some day. These blood diamonds are so prevalent in today's society that they could account for nearly 20-30% of the total world trade market. This figure includes the diamonds that were believed to be smuggled and not officially accounted for. In the Sierra Leone alone there is an estimate of between 20,000 and 50,000 deaths from 1991 to present day dealing with Conflict Diamonds. There currently are 5,000 to 5,400 children in combat roles in Sierra Leone and 5,000 or more used in combat support roles. In 1999, Sierra Leone spent 11 million on the military alone. 11 million dollars is nothing compared to the 46 million spent in 1996 and 1997. However, between June 30, 2001 and July 1, 2001 Sierra Leone spent 476.7 million on their military. Sierra Leone obviously isn't getting all of this money from taxes or low priced goods being sold. I believe that there's a diamond in the rough that's generating all of this money for Sierra Leone.

Angola wasn't in a much better situation at all when it came to dealing with blood diamonds. Although Angola's civil war ended two years ago, plenty of damage had been done in the mean time. Angola left behind half a million people dead, many of which were fighting a war that they did not want to fight for. 86,000 people were left injured and maimed. It is estimated that nearly 3.7 billion dollars was pocketed by UNITA from diamond sales during the civil war between 1992 and 1999 alone. During the war UNITA was vicious and spared no one with their attacks. UNITA was very disciplined in the mines, they'd make a pregnant woman lay down on her stomach with her belly in a hole so the baby wouldn't be killed as she received 25 lashes for discipline. Anyone who wept while viewing this disciplinary action would receive the same treatment. There were points during the civil war where you wondered if UNITA truly cared about their war or if they were just out to make a ton of money. The war eventually ended in February 2002 after Jonas Savimbi's death in battle. Jonas Savimbi was the leader of UNITA. However, blood diamonds are still smuggled and illegally traded today.

The United Nations is one of the major political groups dealing with blood diamonds today. In April 2003 the United Nations passed a resolution to help limit the trading of blood diamonds. This

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