India heads body certifying origin of rough diamonds

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New Delhi, Jan 3 (UNI) India assumed the Chair of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) for the year 2008 which certifies the origin of rough diamonds from sources and ensure they are free of conflict.

Established in 2003 to prevent rebel groups and their rivals from financing their war aims from diamond sales, the certification scheme aims at preventing these ''blood diamonds'' from entering the mainstream rough diamond market.

It was set up with the aim of assuring the consumers purchasing the diamonds are in no way financing war and human rights abuses.

One of the founding members of KPCS, India is sixth in succession to hold the Chair after South Africa, Canada, Russian Federation, Botswana and European Commission, a Commerce Miinistry statement said today.

India said as KP Chair it will continue to build on the traditions and conventions of the previous KP Chairs and ensure effective implementation of the KPCS for ensuring growth of legitimate diamond trade and protection of livelihoods of millions of people across the globe.

India will extend all possible assistance to participants to build effective internal controls and work in close cooperation with United Nations, KP participants, industry and civil society in order to continue the remarkable progress achieved by this scheme in the past few years.

India unanimously held the Vice Chair of the KPCS in 2007, while Namibia has been selected in her place for 2008, the statement added.

The KPCS requires each participant to impose internal controls over production and trade of rough diamonds.

Trading in rough diamonds with a non-participant is not allowed.

All exports of rough diamonds have to be accompanied by a valid KP certificate stating that diamonds are conflict free.

KPCS currently has 48 member states, including the European Community representing 27 member states.

All major diamond producing, trading and polishing centres are members of KP, civil society and industry groups also actively participate in the KP.

The UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 55/56 in December 2000 endorsing and legitimising the Kimberley Process. The Security Council has also endorsed KPCS.

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