History of Liberia
Liberia was the first African state that was not colonized by European powers. This was partly because of their good relationship with the US. Also, in 1820, The American Colonization Society sent freed black slaves to Liberia so that they could start a colony. The freed slaves were indentified as Americo-Liberian. In 1847, Liberia created their constitution and became an official independent country.
History of Blood Diamonds in Liberia
Starting in 1991, Liberia’s neighboring country, Sierra Leone, started a war against their government. Liberia supported Sierra Leone’s rebels by supplying weapons and a retreat for rebels to stay for safety. The rebels were making their citizens mine for diamonds as slaves. They were able to dig out a large amount of diamonds, but they had no use for the diamonds. What they really wanted was the money and weapons that they could get for the diamonds.
Liberia would trade weapons and money for the smuggled diamonds. There are also records that show blood diamonds coming from Liberia being smuggled into other countries where they are sold. Reports from Amnesty International say that there are still spots in Liberia where blood diamonds are still mined and sold. It is estimated that 300,000 carats of these diamonds are being mined every year and can be sold for up to 25 million dollars. That money can then be used to buy weapons.
Charles Taylor's involvement with blood diamonds
Charles Taylor was the former president of Liberia who is now in jail after a trial where he was accused of helping Sierra Leone’s rebels during their civil war with the government. Prosecutors said during the trial that the rebels gave Taylor blood diamonds in exchange for weapons. It was said that Taylor supported the rebels for 10 years, who terrorized the population of Sierra Leone.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's involvement with blood diamonds
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is Liberia's current president. She has been in office since January of 2006. The issue of blood diamonds coming out of Liberia is still going on today, so people are accusing her of not complying with the Kimberley Process. The Kimberley process says that all rough diamonds must be certified and that it has to come from a non-conflict source. A report from the secretary general of the UN said that Liberia has not shown an effort to stop the trading of blood diamonds.