Conflict diamonds

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Reference no: EM13523034

On the Edge: Conflict Diamonds

During the late 1990s, South African diamond producer De Beers and other companies in the diamond industry discovered that some of the diamonds they were buying or selling came from groups who used the proceeds to finance brutal civil wars. In Sierra Leone, rebels took control of diamond mines by systematically chopping off the arms and hands of as many as 20,000 children, women, and men until the diamond operations were turned over to them. Similar events took place at diamond mines in Angola and the Democratic, Republic of the Congo. About 4 million civilians have died in the civil wars financed by the diamonds. Anxious to avoid a consumer boycott of conflict diamonds, De Beers and other diamond companies in 2000 formed the World Diamond Council, a group made up of buyers and sellers of diamonds that pledged to use the Kimberley Process to track diamonds from the mine to the jewelry shop to ensure that diamonds they sold customers were conflict- free. However, in 2004, Global Witness, a watchdog group, published Broken Vows, a report of a survey it conducted which concluded that 83 percent of [ diamond] companies surveyed are falling short on implementing the basic measures of the 2000 agreement to keep conflict diamonds from getting mixed in with nonconflict diamonds.

1. Is it morally wrong for retail stores to knowingly buy diamonds if it is not possible for them to determine whether they are conflict diamonds or not? Is it morally wrong for customers to do the same? Explain your answers in terms of utilitarianism, rights, and justice.

Reference no: EM13523034

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