•More and more countries are starting to produce small arms, many with little
ability or will to regulate their use.
•Most national arms controls are riddled with loopholes or barely enforced.
•Arms get into the wrong hands through weak controls on firearm ownership,
weapons management, and misuse by authorized users of weapons.
•From 1998 to 2001, the USA, the UK, and France earned more income from
arms sales to developing countries than they gave in aid.
•So who profits most from this murderous trade? The five permanent members
of the UN Security Council—the USA, UK, France, Russia, and China. Together,
they are responsible for eighty eight per cent of reported conventional arms
•“We can’t have it both ways. We can’t be both the world’s leading champion of
peace and the world’s leading supplier of arms.” Former US President Jimmy
Carter, presidential campaign, 1976
• Rebel groups use the profits from the sale of diamonds, upwards of $300 million a year, to buy
more small arms and supplies so that they can sustain their military endeavors.
• In the past decade, over 6 million people from Sierra Leone, Angola, Liberia, and the
Democratic Republic of the Congo have become refugees after being forced from their homes
by diamond fueled conflict.
• Millions more have died in diamond related conflicts over the past decade.
• In 2008, Zimbabwe’s military launched a bloody crackdown in eastern Zimbabwe after
diamonds were discovered in the fields of Marange Police and soldiers, deployed by the
government, massacred some 200 people as they seized control of the area. They beat and
raped locals, forced them to mine for diamonds, and carried out other human rights abuses.
Those responsible have not been held accountable.
• Rebel cruelty in many conflict areas is well documented, and includes the abduction and
training of child soldiers, amputation, abduction of males as diamond mine workers, and the use
of rape as a tool of war.
• Diamond profits allow for prolonged conflict and increased human rights abuses in conflict
• And despite UN arms embargoes and diamond certification schemes such as the Kimberley
Process, the illegal sale of diamonds remains a profitable business.
Taking Action: What can be done?
• Urge your government representatives to support an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) that
would establish strict rules for the international transfer of arms, and hold
irresponsible arms suppliers and dealers to account.
• Write to your state senators representatives, urging the to support the Child Solider
Prevention Act of 2007
• Urge your national representatives and the World Diamond Council, which take part
in the Kimberley Process, to broaden the definition of conflict diamonds to include
diamonds procured by governments as well as rebel groups that commit human
• Ensure that your supply chain does not include any conflict diamonds and ask your
suppliers to certify that diamonds are not from conflict areas.
• Buy used jewelry!
• Spread the word!
• restrict US military assistance to governments that are implicated
in the recruitment or use of children for their own armed forces or
supported armed groups;
• urge the United States to expand its efforts to help remove and
rehabilitate children from armed forces and groups around the
• encourage the United States to work with the international
community to bring to justice armed oppositional groups that have
kidnapped children for use as soldiers.
• Sign the Petition to your Senator!
• Educate others!
• Host a Screening of Amnesty’s
new Film Justice Without Borders