The civil society coalition that traditionally participates in the Kimberley Process will sit out next year’s meetings in response to United Arab Emirates serving as 2016 chair.
The organizations said selecting the UAE as chair crossed a “red line,” citing continued concerns over “lenient standards” and transfer pricing in Dubai, as well as the country’s often-antagonistic relationship with NGOs.
“We have been calling on Dubai to change its harmful diamond trading practices,” said Alan Martin, Partnership Africa Canada’s director of research, in a statement. “If they want to be a leader in the Kimberley Process, they need to act like one.”
In a statement, the UAE pronounced itself “disappointed” with the decision.
“We remain committed to engaging with civil society, one of the three founding pillars of the Kimberley Process,” it said.
The boycott has been brewing since this summer, when the UAE was elected vice chair, the traditional stepping-stone to the top role, over NGO objections.