From Project Syndicate: “Clarity about Diamonds” by Peter Singer

Diamonds have an image of purity and light. They are given as a pledge of love and worn as a symbol of commitment. Yet diamonds have led to gruesome murders, as well as widespread rapes and amputations.

Charles Taylor, a former president of Liberia currently facing war crimes charges at a special court in The Hague, is alleged to have used diamonds to fund rebels in Sierra Leone’s civil war.  The case against Taylor represents only one of several examples in which diamonds have facilitated widespread human rights violations.

When diamonds’ role in fueling violent conflict in Africa gained worldwide attention, the diamond industry established the Kimberley Process in order to keep ‘blood diamonds’ out of international trade. The initiative has met with some success, although it has not completely halted trade in diamonds from conflict-torn countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Read more at Project Syndicate.

Peter Singer is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne. He is also the author of The Expanding Circle: Ethics, Evolution, and Moral Progress. A new edition of this book, with an afterword by Singer, will be available from PUP in June 2011.


  1. Are these initiatives really having success, as I’ve read that the ‘blood diamonds’ are still getting through by going through other countries?