Global Policy Forum

Liberia Bans Import of 'Blood Diamonds'

Agence France-Presse
March 19, 2001

Liberia has banned imports of uncertified rough diamonds from Sierra Leone, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo to conform with UN sanctions on stones used to fund insurgent movements.

An official statement by the information ministry, made available to AFP Monday, said the step was "in furtherance of efforts by the Liberian government to establish a certificate of origin regime."

The move, which came into effect Saturday, is widely seen as a last-ditch effort to stop more UN economic sanctions being imposed on Monrovia. On March 7, Liberia banned diamond exports just ahead of a UN Security Council meeting which unanimously voted stronger sanctions to curb Monrovia's support for Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front rebels. The group has waged a deadly insurgency in Sierra Leone for the better part of 10 years.

The UN voted to impose a new arms embargo on Monrovia and to impose economic sanctions in two months unless Liberia severed ties with the RUF. RUF rebels, who launched their rebellion from Liberia in 1991, have committed horrific human rights abuses against Sierra Leonean civilians.

The UN economic sanctions include a ban on imports of all rough diamonds originating in or passing through Liberia, and restrictions on air travel by senior Liberian government and military officials and their wives.

The new arms embargo replaces a similar weapons ban imposed on Liberia in November 1992 after a brutal civil war broke out. President Charles Taylor, a former warlord, came to power in elections held in 1997.

More Information on Sierra Leone and Liberia
More Information on Diamonds in Conflict


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