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Alternative Title

Politics of the Kimberley certification scheme

Publication Date


First Advisor

Mlada Bukovansky

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Blood diamonds, Conflict diamonds, Diamonds, Zimbabwe, Ethics, Certification schemes, Diamond industry, The Kimberley Process, The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, The KP, The KPCS, Fair-washing, Fair trade, Human rights, NGOs, Activism, Narratives, Framing


Although the diamond ethical certification scheme, known as the Kimberley Process (KP), has certified Zimbabwe’s Marange diamonds as compliant with the ethical label’s minimum standards, artisanal miners and local villagers continue to suffer human rights violations because of diamond mining operations. In the Marange Fields, economically desperate artisanal miners are mauled by dogs unleashed by private security forces. They are subjected to physical assault, rape, torture and murder for digging diamonds in order to feed their families. Because of diamonds, Chiadzwa villagers have been forcefully evicted from their homes, deprived of their sources of livelihood and robbed of their lands’ diamond wealth. In spite of these violations of human rights, the KP continues to certify Marange’s diamonds as ethically mined.

This honors thesis explores the dynamics of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) that resulted in the ethical labelling scheme’s act of endorsing Marange’s diamonds. I argue that NGOs’ ability to successfully leverage sensational narratives against the diamond industry results in the industry pressuring the KPCS to address issues of non-compliance within the supply chain. However, the promulgation of accounts detailing extensive political corruption and excessive human rights violations limit NGOs in their ability to address the most immediate needs of artisanal miners and local villagers.


©2019 Sarah Marie Kolick Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.




vii, 96 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 89-96)