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This topic about modern day slavery which centers more on the blood diamonds in Sierra Leone is of much importance. The term blood diamond which may also be referred to as conflict about diamonds explains how diamonds are obtained from the war-ripped African countries such as Sierra Leone. The topic is of great interest since it helps in understanding the kind of diamonds that are termed as conflict diamonds and the related modern day slavery. Focusing on this topic will facilitate in seeing the factors that have contributed towards blood diamonds and the possible measures that may be undertaken to stop it especially in the Sierra Leone. Moreover, studying the problems of modern day slavery in Sierra Leone will help in distinguishing the consequences of the blood diamonds and find out whether these conflicts have been fired by external influence from other established countries in the world.
The pursuit of learning this topic is basically to understand the various factors that have contributed to the persistent conflict diamonds in Sierra Leone and know how it is connected to modern day slavery. A comprehensive study of this topic will help analyze the impact of the trade on conflict diamonds in Sierra Leone. Since one of the contributing factor factors is the illegal trade of these diamonds, this study will help to consider what the diamond industry as well as the international community can do to prevent this illegal trade. A clear understanding on this topic will also aid in identifying and exploring the roles played by the citizens and the government of Sierra Leone towards this misery. Studying blood diamond in this country will help understand how the conflicts have affected the country’s economic performance and how rights of citizens have been contravened. Finally, this discussion will help in establishing a solution of what needs to be done by both the citizens and the government through the various authorities obligated towards ensuring that human rights are obeyed and instituting cohesion.
Article 1: “Blood Diamonds” by Pervelia Brown.
According to this article, the onset of Sierra Leone’s hostilities emanating from blood diamonds was in 1991 and was alleged to be influenced by their neighboring country, Liberia. Just like in other war-torn African state, Sierra Leone war was steered further by rebel groups which wanted to take control of the major diamond mines in the country. A rebel group known as Revolutionary United Front (R.U.F) took control of Kono, the country’s major diamond center in 1992. This being a natural resource that should be controlled by a central authority to the benefit of all citizens, the Sierra Leone government through the National Provisional Ruling Council (N.P.R.C) attempted to restore normalcy by seizing Kono from the rebels. This effort by the government sparked a war that lasted for a number of years.
This war was quite costly to the Sierra Leon citizens and at the same time consequential since any endeavors by the government to take over the diamond mines were in vain. One of the strategies used by the resilient rebels to cause fear among the civilians was by chopping their hands and feet. As a result, there were too many casualties of these cruel acts which were so costly to the government. When an election was held in 1996, these rebels refused to take part and later joined efforts with other rebellious outfits from the armed forces to form the Armed Forces Ruling Council (A.F.R.C) and overthrew Ahmed Kabbah who had been elected as Sierra Leonean president, although he was later reinstated.
For a long time, the international community had ignored to intervene in this war and just watched as the rebels killed and used civilians as slaves to work in the mines. Later, the U.N intervened with a motive of ending the war and establishing a legitimate government led in accordance with international law. This article explains the topic comprehensively and shows how the war over diamonds began in Sierra Leone as well as its consequences.
Article 2: “Sierra Leone” by Anup Shah
According to this article, the war in Sierra Leone began due to the Rebels perception that the government’s control over the diamond mines was characterized by corruption and poor management. Consequently, the rebels resorted to seizing the diamond mines and the government’s attempts to recapture them started the war that lasted for a decade. The rebel group known as the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) is said to have taken control of the diamond mines with positive intentions but they ended up causing major problems to the country than the government would have done. During the war that began in 1991, the RUF committed a lot of crimes including killing thousands of civilians. This rebel group was also responsible for committing crimes against humanity such as amputating citizens’ feet and hands as well as raping women as they fought to continue controlling the mines.
The RUF group’s intention was to profit themselves fully from the diamonds and this led to their ill acts of using civilians as slaves in the diamond mines and engaging in illegal diamond trade. They are also said to have used the youth in their forces, especially, teenagers therefore violating their child rights such as education. Between 1996 and 1997, the UK was blamed of shipping arms illegally to Sierra Leone, with ensured minimal media exposure, to fuel the war. In 1999, the UN struck a peace deal to heal this country, a move that was highly challenged by Human Rights Watch who claimed that such a deal would give amnesty to the rebels hence nothing would really happen to calm the country. The UN then undertook another initiative of disarming the rebels and although it somehow worked, some of the UN peacekeepers were held hostages by the rebels. Another move was taken by the United Nations Security Council to ban diamond exports from Sierra Leone to ease the tension in the country.
This article explains the topic about modern day slavery and blood diamonds in Sierra Leone by showing how civilians suffered as a result of wrangles due diamonds in the country. Even though many casualties were caused by the RUF rebels, the government was also responsible since its bombings towards the rebels also claimed civilians.
Article 3: “Sierra Leone - another African Diamond War” by Mark Watson
According to this article, the reason behind Sierra Leone’s persistent war was the struggle amongst the country over the control of the diamond rich regions in the country. It is claimed that although many of Sierra Leone’s neighboring countries tried to restore peace and mannerly governance in the country, some leaders, like Charles Taylor, who was Liberia’s president at the time supported the war. Nigeria is one of the West African countries that expressed support to the Sierra Leonean government and it also deployed a number of troops to work with the UN in the country. The main aim of the rebels was to control the diamond mines and all the returns from their sales in the market. This brought about the illegal diamond trade and the use of citizens and children as forced workers in the diamond mines. This led to Sierra Leone being one of the poorest countries in the world notwithstanding its very rich resource base, that is, the diamond mines.
In a bid to restore sanity to the country, the UN deployed troops to assist in establishing a stable government and ensure that the control of the diamond rich regions were in its control. This move had its challenges in that some of the troops were captured by the rebels. When elections were held in 1996, Ahmed Kabbah was elected as the Sierra Leonean president but the rebels ousted him in 1997. Sierra Leones economy suffered much during this period of war resulting to a persistent increase in its foreign debt. There were foreign influences basically from some world companies to support the war by hiring private forces to ensure the rebels continued controlling the mines so as to benefit from them. The UN with the help of some West African countries helped to force out rebels in those contested regions and also helped in establishing a sound government.
This article has expressed how rebels and foreign influence contributed towards the bloody war in Sierra Leone. It has shown how the rebels adopted other measures of benefiting from the diamonds by establishing black markets for smuggling diamonds illegally despite the international requirement to certify diamond sources which is meant to combat illegal diamond trade.
Lessons Learned From the Modern Day Slavery Research
This study has assisted in giving a broader view of what led to the blood diamond in Sierra Leone and the consequences of the war. Through this study, it has been disclosed that much of the war that occurred in Sierra Leone for a decade was as a result of a conflict towards the control of diamond mines between the government and rebel groups. It has been found out that the citizens suffered the most from this war. The rebels had a way of frustrating any measures by the government to take control of the mines and forced compliance in the country by killing the people, amputating their limbs and raping women. They also violated human rights by taking both adults and children to work in the mines as slaves.
Additionally, the blood diamonds was so costly to the government. For instance, before the war that began in 1991, Sierra Leone used to produce much diamond which was traded for foreign exchange. After the country was hit by a civil war, its economic performance deteriorated and its foreign debt kept increasing adding into its misery. Moreover, the study has also shown that even after intervention by the UN, illegal trade of diamond has continued meaning that even with an established government, the country cannot benefit fully from its diamonds. Foreign companies have been found to have supported the war by hiring mercenaries to protect the rebels. Therefore, the study has also exposed that some foreign influence was responsible for the war.
According to this study, the solution for Sierra Leone’s problems required both the government and international community to cooperate. The citizens had little capability to reverse the situation. Things began to get better when the UN with the help of other West African countries helped to force the rebels out of the diamond mines. The rebels had been responsible for many innocent killings and harassments. The Sierra Leonean government was also responsible for some of the killings. Many civilians were killed as the government bombed the rebels. Finally, this study has helped in establishing the causes, consequence and the role of the international community in the blood diamonds case of Sierra Leone.