Global Policy Forum

NGO Letter Calling for Security Council Action on the Diamond Trade and the Civil War in Sierra Leone


From Action Against Hunger, Care International, Global Policy Forum and the Women's Commission on Refugee Women and Children

June 2, 2000


H.E. Sir Jeremy Greenstock
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the United Nations
One Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza
885 Second Avenue
New York, New York, 10017

Dear Ambassador Greenstock:

This week, a group of representatives from humanitarian NGOs active in Sierra Leone, including Oxfam, Action Against Hunger, Care International and the Women's Commission on Refugee Women and Children met along with Global Policy Forum to discuss the continuing crisis in that country. We concurred that something must be done to stem the flow of arms. Knowing of your upcoming retreat and the possibility that the Security Council members might discuss Sierra Leone this weekend, we are sending you recommendations for Council action.

We would like to urge you and others members of the Council to consider strengthening and expanding the scope of the present sanctions regime to prevent the illegal extraction and sale of diamonds and other minerals that are fueling the Sierra Leone crisis. You may already be familiar with the briefing papers issued by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International on this subject just last month, which call for similar action.

We believe that a stronger sanctions regime is needed to ensure that Sierra Leone's factions and neighboring parties in West Africa are no longer able to profit from the illegal diamond trade and use diamond revenues to purchase weapons.

We hope that the Security Council can design a sanctions regime to put pressure on governments, corporations, brokers and shippers that are involved in the illegal diamond trade and the provision of arms to combatants in Sierra Lone. In this regard, the establishment of an expert panel with a mandate similar to that of the Expert Panel on Angola Sanctions would be useful.

Recognizing the link between diamonds and conflict in Africa, we would ask that the Security Council also explore ways to promote the creation of a registry of diamond sales to achieve transparency as was proposed in Security Council Resolution 1295 , paragraph 18.

Many thanks for your consideration of these recommendations. We look forward to hearing about your deliberations on this important matter and hope you will call on us to assist you in any way that we can.


Sandra Sennett Tully

Care International


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