Blum Director Richard Matthew offers expert insight into the Blood Diamond market

John Kiernan discusses the impacts, damages, effectiveness of the Kimberly Process, and tips for avoiding Blood Diamonds. Kiernan asks experts to offer insight into the Blood Diamond market. The experts include Blum Director Richard Matthew, Professor of Law at University of Illinois, Lesley M. Wexler, Professor of Practice at Syracuse University, David Michael Crane, and Professor of Earth & Environment at Florida International University, Stephen E. Haggerty.

JK: “Is there a way to quantify the damage done by the blood diamond industry?’

RM: “We know that blood diamonds have been implicated in a number of wars including those in Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone. But the costs of war are hard to calculate, and the impact of these diamonds far greater. In these two cases alone, somewhere between 3. 7 and 5 million people died. There are extensive environmental costs — thousands of artisanal diamond pits in Sierra Leone, for example, have affected soil, water and land cover, and filled with stagnant water that contributes to mosquitoes and malaria. There are extensive human rights costs — as many as a million artisanal miners in Africa are underpaid, saddled with debt, and subject to significant health problems linked to this backbreaking type of labor. There are political costs because of widespread corruption throughout the diamond industry which reduces trust. I would guess that the damage caused by a conflict diamond exceeds the market value, but the latter goes into a few hands, and the former is spread over entire societies.

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