Naomi Campbell exposes the diamond industry’s role in African wars

When international supermodel Naomi Campbell took the witness stand Friday in the trial against Liberia’s former President Charles Taylor, Western media outlets showered unprecedented attention on this largely ignored war crimes trial.

For the people of Sierra Leone and Liberia, Naomi Campbell’s association with this whole affair is of little consequence. But it is a cruel reminder of another stark fact: In the years of war that engulfed both countries, not only were thousands of innocent lives lost and people maimed, not only were women and girls raped or made sex slaves, not only were children conscripted to fight, but the people’s resources also were stolen out from under them and never returned.

The diamond industry has given almost nothing back to Sierra Leone, despite the critical role diamonds played in the war. The same is true for segments of the timber industry that profited from the deforestation of Liberia during the war.


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