Global Witness, the campaign group that focuses on the ways that natural resources fuel conflict and oppression, has pulled out of the Kimberley Process, a certification scheme that is supposed to ensure that blood diamonds don't reach the world's jewellery shops.
“Nearly nine years after the Kimberley Process was launched, the sad truth is that most consumers still cannot be sure where their diamonds come from, nor whether they are financing armed violence or abusive regimes” said Charmian Gooch, a founding director of Global Witness.
Calling the Kimberley Process a failure and an "accomplice" to diamond laundering the advocacy group quit on Monday.
Global Witness was the first organization to highlight the issue of blood diamonds.
The move is a serious blow to the credibility of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme established in 2003 to trace the origin of rough diamonds and ensure that ones originating from war zones and oppressive regimes were not reaching the market. The 2006 Leonardo DiCaprio film 'Blood Diamond' brought the issue to wide public attention.
It is also an indictment of the world diamond trade and the countries that produce and trade diamonds which, Global Witness says, have done little to clean up their act.
Disappointment with the Kimberley Process has been growing among the civil society organizations that have observer status at its meetings, and the decision last month to allow diamonds from Zimbabwe's Marange minefields to be sold on the world market was the final straw.