Thursday, March 28, 2013

Child Soldiers and Conflict Diamonds

Currently over 50 conflicts going on around the globe.
Estimated at least 300,000 child soldiers fighting in those conflicts.

Problem of the "Resource Curse"
Armed struggles for control over oil, diamonds and minerals, land

Blood Diamond- Set in the 1990s when rebels took control of Sierra Leone's diamond mines.


The movie casts a spotlight on the diamond industry and the use of child soldiers used by rebel groups profiting on the diamond trade in war-torn Sierra Leone.

The war in Sierra Leone started in 1991 and ended in 2002. 


Conflict Diamonds (Blood Diamonds): Gems illegally sold to fund civil wars and rebel conflicts. Profits often used to buy arms in African countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone.

Ishmeal Beah: A Long Way Gone
His village was attacked in 1993.

The problem of diamond funded conflicts persist.

The United States purchases about 65% of the world's diamonds.

60% of the world's diamonds originate in Africa.

Kimberley Process- Put in place in 2003

Before the Kimberley Process, diamond industry estimated conflict diamonds made up 4% of the global trade. Many human rights groups place that estimate at 15%.

Diamonds are the most portable commodity in the world. Smuggling is common.

CBS News (Facts about Blood Diamonds)

CBS News:

60 Minutes segment:


Why do rebel groups use children as soldiers?

What tactics were used by groups like the RUF to turn children into soldiers?

Beah writes about other rehabilitated child soldiers who later returned to fight. How do you think Beah's activism (writing the book and public speaking) have helped him heal and live a healthy, productive life?