June 8, 2009

Ian Smillie, Research Coordinator with Partnership Africa Canada, has decided to leave his position at the end of July, 2009. Ian has worked on the conflict diamonds issue with PAC since 1998 and has represented PAC in the Kimberley Process from the beginning. He was one of the architects of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, the international regulatory system for rough diamonds, which was launched in 2003 to help prevent the trade in diamonds from funding armed conflict.

Needless to say, it’s difficult to put into a few words our recognition and thanks to Ian for the contribution he has made to PAC’s work on the conflict diamonds issue. He has coordinated PAC’s research on this question and written several of our reports himself. He has helped the media understand what are sometimes complex matters, and the Kimberley Process is now known throughout the world. Above all, he has been a towering voice for civil society in the Kimberley Process, a voice that is respected and listened to. He’ll be missed in the KP but especially in PAC, not only as a creative force but as a dear colleague and friend.

In recent years, PAC and others in the Kimberley Process have been critical of the KP’s shortcomings and its failure to deal decisively with several important matters, such as Venezuela’s flagrant non-compliance with KP’s regulations and the Zimbabwe authorities’ gross abuse of human rights in certain mining areas. PAC’s reports on both these questions have been met with denial by the respective governments, and by the complicity of a few governments within the KP. Ian finally grew weary of the KP’s indecision and inaction on these and other matters.

On behalf of Partnership Africa Canada, we would like to commend Ian for his immense contribution to the work of PAC and civil society in the Kimberley Process. He has highlighted some of the problems that must be addressed. The KP is a unique initiative that brings governments, the private sector and civil society together to solve a major human security problem. In common with the other members of the civil society coalition working with the Kimberley Process, PAC remains committed to helping to make the KP work, and to making it work better.

Mary Rusimbi
President of the Board of Directors

Bernard Taylor
Executive Director