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Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Angola: Sanctions Updates

Angola: Sanctions Updates
Date distributed (ymd): 000327
Document reposted by APIC

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +security/peace+
Summary Contents:
In January this year APIC issued a policy statement, noting the need for international action to support peace in Angola to address three simultaneous tracks: serious implementation of sanctions against UNITA, pressure for accountability for the use of Angola's wealth, and support for engagement of civil society in the quest for peace. This statement is available on the Africa Policy web site (>).

Two postings today contain new documents and links addressing these issues. This posting contains several press releases related to new developments in the implementation of international sanctions against UNITA, as well as links to longer recently released reports. The most important new report, too long to be reposted here, is the UN's "Fowler Report" on Violations of Security Council Sanctions against UNITA ( Also of interest, with additional details, in addition to the citations in the press releases below from Global Witness and Human Rights Watch, is the March 2000 report from Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), entitled "Waiting on Empty Promises: The Human Cost of International Inaction of Angolan Sanctions" (

A parallel posting concerns other current Angolan issues, particularly accountability for oil revenues and defense of the rights of free speech, as well as other links relevant to peace and development in Angola.

+++++++++++++++++end profile++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

APIC Announcements and Reminders

The Africa Policy web page on Southern Africa Floods ( continues to be updated. New documents or links added include announcement of a new $50 million IMF loan, a U.S. congressional initiative by members of the Congressional Black Caucus to cancel debts of affected Southern African countries, analysis by Africa News reporter Charlie Cobb of the slow U.S. response to the crisis, and more.

APIC welcomes the support of readers willing to contribute to support the continuation of these free services. To contribute on-line or print out a membership form, go to

Global Witness Press Releases

Information: Tel: +44 (0)20 7272 6731; Fax: +44 (0)20 7272 9425 E-mail: MOBILE: +44 (0) 7968 160 377 Web:

Global Witness is a British based non-governmental organisation which focuses on the links between environmental and human rights abuses, especially the impacts of natural resource exploitation upon countries and their people. In December 1998 it published a report ,"A Rough Trade", which raised issues about conflict diamonds and failures of the UN embargo on unofficial diamonds from Angola.

Global Witness Press Release on De Beers Statement on Conflict Goods

29 February 2000

De Beers' statement on conflict goods is a welcome first step on a difficult journey De Beers' moves to guarantee to its sightholders and, ultimately, to consumers that it is moving away from its buying policies of the 1990s and will no longer buy or supply goods from rebel armies in Africa is a very welcome development. It shows that the company has listened to criticism from the international community and is moving to address consumer concern about the source of diamonds. "De Beers has taken a lead that the rest of the diamond industry must now follow. De Beers has clearly understood that it is no longer acceptable to buy diamonds originating from conflict areas and we commend this move as a major first step in the difficult process of excluding conflict goods from the legitimate marketplace." Said Charmian Gooch, of Global Witness "The focus of attention must now be on the many thousands of jewellery retailers worldwide, the key sector of the diamond market most closely in contact with consumers, to ensure that they also do not supply diamonds originating from rebel held areas." There are still some points that need to be clarified. Firstly, can De Beers give an absolute guarantee that it will never again buy such conflict goods from rebel areas? And secondly how will the company be able to audit its guarantee? This is likely to be an issue because De Beers and the Central Selling Organisation has spent decades claiming that it has an essential role in buying just such unofficial diamonds in order to maintain a stable world price for the commodity.

Global Witness Press Release on Fowler Report

15th March, 2000

Global Witness welcomes report of the United Nations expert panel into Angolan sanctions, however opportunities missed.

The naming and shaming of individuals involved in the illegal trafficking of Angolan diamonds is welcomed as is the criticism that the diamond industry, particularly in Antwerp, has failed to police itself or implement meaningful controls with regards to import and export controls. The forfeiture of goods for those who cannot provide the legal origin of rough goods is a necessary step and should be enacted immediately.

The recommendations do tackle some key problems but fail to indicate a timetable for their implementation. The expert panels are right to recommend the need for a conference to define and set up a system of controls leading to transparency and accountability in the diamond industry. Key to this is the need to establish the country of origin of diamonds as this has been a major loophole enabling the smuggling of Unita goods via third party countries, whose documentation has acted as a 'flag of convenience' to facilitate entry into countries such as Belgium. The report, though focused on Angola, needs to develop the ability of the UN to apply sanctions far more effectively.

The report appears to sidestep the issue of De Beers' involvement in buying Unita goods prior to the embargo. This may have been considered to have been outside the panels remit. This was a mistake because it is key to understanding how Unita were able to rearm and undermine attempts at peace, and illustrates why the international community has to take immediate action to reform the way such conflict goods enter into the market place. De Beers' PR machine is currently trying to whitewash its past decade of buying on the open market, not least it is trying to undo the admission by CEO Gary Ralfe in October 1997 that goods of Unita origin had been purchased by De Beers. If the company's current guarantee not to sell conflict goods are to have any weight or long term significance, De Beers must publicly state they will never again buy such conflict goods.

The Angolan government has been let off lightly over its own lack of meaningful controls within Angola, which as the report confirms 'has greatly facilitated the smuggling of rough diamonds, including those from Unita controlled areas' . It in fact had a major role in undermining the initial effectiveness of the diamond embargo. The Government of Angola needs to clarify what improvements have been made to the structures surrounding the new certificate of origin. The panel is right to urge that close attention be paid to the government's actions but should insist upon a timetable for this. It should also call for clarification from Lev Leviev the new purchaser of all Angola's rough production, over how he is ensuring that Unita goods are not entering into 'legitimate' Angolan production.

Global Witness Press Release on Israeli Diamond Industry

Immediate release: 17 March 2000

When will the Israeli diamond industry and government end their virtual silence on the issue of conflict goods?

March 21-23 sees the meeting of the Israel 2nd International Rough Diamond Conference in Tel Aviv. Unlike Belgium, which stung by criticism has finally begun to institute some constructive reforms, Israel has failed to open up and tackle the issue of conflict goods. This is highly worrying especially as Israel is actively trying to promote itself as a rough diamond centre.

The industry is failing to follow the lead being set by International Diamond Manufacturers Association and the High Diamond Council. One has to ask the question why. Israel specializes in cutting and polishing high value goods, just the type that are known to originate from conflict areas such as Angola and Sierra Leone. To date the Government of Israel has refused to meet with Global Witness to discuss the UN embargo and the wider issue of controls on conflict goods - the only government ever to do so.

Global Witness urges the Government of Israel and the Israel diamond industry to use the opportunity of the International Rough Diamond Conference to openly discuss these issues; at present Israel is in danger of being left behind as the rest of the international community moves towards dealing with the issue of conflict goods. This could be disastrous for an already beleaguered industry as its major market is in the USA where Congressman Tony Hall is working on legislation to restrict the flow of conflict goods.

Global Witness believes it is time that all the major diamond centres started to work together on the issue of controls to deal with conflict goods, it is after all in their mutual interest.

Global Witness Press Release on Israel
24th March 2000


The recent admission by Ran Cohen, Israel's Minister of Trade and Industry, that conflict diamonds are causes of human suffering around the world is a belated admission of Israel's failure to constructively tackle the issue of conflict diamonds. This is at a stage when other key elements of the diamond industry have finally responded to severe criticisms and are actively searching for some potential solutions. It is to be welcomed that the government of Israel will 'investigate ways in which Israel can help fight the war against illicit diamond buying.'

Global Witness will like to know how the Israeli government and diamond industry intends to 'investigate' ways in which to help. 'Will the government of Israel and the Israel Diamond Institute publicly state what controls and measures they intend to put in place to ensure that conflict diamonds will no longer enter into Israel, thus protecting the long term future of the Israeli diamond industry," said Alex Yearsley of Global Witness.

From: Human Rights Watch <> Subject: Sanctions-Busting in Angola
Date sent: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 13:54:58 -0800 Send reply to:

Sanctions-Busting in Angola

Human Rights Watch Backgrounder

(New York, March 14, 2000) -- The Security Council will hold an open briefing on Angola on March 15 at 10 am. Ambassador Robert Fowler of Canada, chair of the Council's Sanctions Committee on Angola, will present a report on the sanctions regime against the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).

The 54-page report was put together by a ten-person independent Panel of Experts, mandated in May 1999 to investigate violations of the sanctions regime: the sale and delivery of arms and military equipment to the rebels; the provision of petroleum products to UNITA; the purchase of diamonds mined in areas controlled by UNITA; the maintenance of bank accounts and other financial assets of UNITA; the maintenance of UNITA offices abroad; and travel of senior UNITA officials and adult members of their immediate families.

Human Rights Watch published a four-year study on sanctions-busting in Angola Unravels (in English, September 1999) and an updated edition, Angola Explicada (in Portuguese, December 1999). Both of these reports are available on the Human Rights Watch website at

Human Rights Watch welcomes Fowler's report. From 1993 until January 1999, despite the introduction of three packages of sanctions against UNITA, the U.N. largely turned a blind eye to their violation. Following the appointment of Robert Fowler as chair, the Sanctions Committee has become much more active, producing three reports with detailed recommendations.

The Fowler report contains detailed new information, including that:

*President Eyadema of Togo plays an important role in supporting UNITA;

*President Compaore of Burkina Faso features prominently too, allowing Burkina Faso to be an important location for diamond trading;

*Rwanda is an important location for gun-running and diamond trading with UNITA. The government has full-knowledge of this and provides protection; Libreville, Gabon has been an important refueling location for sanctions-busting planes after they have been inside UNITA areas;

*Most of the weapons imported by UNITA were from Bulgaria (see Human Rights Watch April 1999 report, Money Talks, on Sofia's exports of weapons to human rights abusers);

*The "extremely lax controls and regulations governing the Antwerp [diamond] market facilitate and perhaps even encourage illegal trading activity;"

*The 1999 decision by De Beers to cease buying most Angolan rough "has made it more difficult for UNITA to sell its diamonds thereby raising the costs to UNITA." (However, Human Rights Watch is concerned that an Israeli firm has filled the vacuum in February 2000 created by De Beers' decision);

*UNITA has had a general aversion for banks and normal banking channels, although it has used some credit cards. (Human Rights Watch has heard from Angolan government sources that radio communications equipment was purchased by UNITA in the U.S. and paid for by a credit card linked to an account holder resident in the United Arab Emirates);

*Air transport are the lifeline to UNITA. The panel published the names of a number of key figures in UNITA's transportation support network including Jacques "Kiki" Lemaire, Victour Bout (Air Cess/Air Pass), and Johannes Parreira (Interstate Airways). Human Rights Watch has published more detailed information, including a list of planes noted by the U.N. to have visited UNITA areas in 1998. These include planes owned by the Angolan government (See Angola Explicada).

The Fowler report makes thirty-nine recommendations, among which:

*The Security Council should apply sanctions against leaders and governments found to have been deliberately breaking sanctions. These might be an embargo on arms sales for three years, followed by three years probation;

*The end-user certificate system that prevails in many countries is wholly inadequate to ensure against diversion from their declared end-user. This system requires reform;

*Compliance with U.N. sanctions regimes should be among the criteria considered by NATO and the European Union when evaluating candidates for new membership (aimed at Bulgaria especially);

*DNA-type analysis should be conducted on fuel samples from petroleum industry suppliers in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region and that the results be used to create a database for the purpose of evaluating fuel obtained or captured from UNITA;

* Forfeiture penalties should be introduced against those who can not provide the legal origin of rough diamonds;

*Sanctions should be applied against individuals and enterprises discovered to be intentionally breaking U.N. sanctions relating to UNITA diamonds. Such traders or companies should also be put on an industry "blacklist;"

*A substantial bounty or "finders' fee percentage" could be given to any institution, non-governmental organization, or individual that tracks down and identifies UNITA assets that are subject to sanction;

*Offending countries should be declared sanctions breakers; candidacies of nationals from listed countries should not be supported for senior positions within the U.N. and international organizations should be discouraged from holding conferences and meetings in listed countries (a recommendation aimed at Togo, which is an incoming chair of the Organization of African Unity).

The challenge is now to see the panel's imaginative recommendations enacted in practice. Human Rights Watch believes that a smaller panel of independent experts should be commissioned to monitor and encourage the implementation of the sanctions regimes against UNITA, and that Robert Fowler should be mandated to report back to the Security Council prior to the end of his mandate on January 1, 2001.

This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC). APIC's primary objective is to widen international policy debates around African issues, by concentrating on providing accessible policy-relevant information and analysis usable by a wide range of groups and individuals.

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