Global Witness

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Global Witness is a non-profit organisation headquartered in London which describes itself as exposing "the corrupt exploitation of natural resources and international trade systems, to drive campaigns that end impunity, resource-linked conflict, and human rights and environmental abuses". [1]

Founded in 1993, Global Witness has been a key player in many of the major international mechanisms and initiatives that have been established to address these issues; including the Kimberley Process governing production of diamonds and precious stones, and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

Investigations and results

Global Witness claims their investigations have had direct and major impacts, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) withdrawal from Cambodia in 1996 over corruption in the logging industry,[2] the imposition of timber sanctions on Charles Taylor's Liberia in 2003,[3] and the precedent-setting arrest of timber baron Gus Kouwenhoven in the Netherlands in 2005.[4]

Oil and Gas

Global Witness started producing reports on the oil and gas industry in 2004 when its report Time for Transparency detailed abuse of natural resources in Kazakhstan, Congo Brazzaville, Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Nauru.[5] Reports on Russia's gas trade with the countries of Eastern Europe and the EU followed.[6]

In September 2009 Global Witness produced a report which provided details of the lack of transparency in the way Sudan distributes oil revenues between the government in Khartoum and the autonomous government of South Sudan.[7]

Conflict minerals

Global Witness' work on conflict minerals focuses on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where fighting is fuelled by the trade in valuable minerals such as cassiterite, coltan, wolframite and gold.[8]

It was also one of the first organisations to bring the world's attention to the problems of conflict diamonds in countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Angola, the DRC, and Cote d'Ivoire. The organisation is an official observer of the Kimberley Process and continues to campaign for the strengthening and effective implementation of its rules.[9] However in December 2011 Global Witness made the decision to leave the process, due to concerns that the mechanism was no longer proving effective in achieving its objective.[10]

External Links

Official website:


  1. "Global Witness, About Us" Global Witness, retrieved 24 October 2010.
  2. "Our History" Global Witness, retrieved 24 October 2010.
  3. "Liberia breaches UN Sanctions - whilst its logging industry funds arms imports and RUF rebels" Global Witness, 6 September 2001.
  4. "Arms dealer and timber trader Guus Kouwenhoven found guilty of breaking a UN arms embargo" Global Witness, 7 June 2006.
  5. "Time for Transparency" Global Witness, retrieved 26 October 2011.
  6. "It's a gas - funny business in the Turkmen-Ukraine oil trade" Global Witness, retrieved 26 October 2011.
  7. "Fuelling mistrust - The need for transparency in Sudan's oil industry" Global Witness, retrieved 26 October 2011.
  8. "Conflict Minerals" Global Witness, retrieved 30 November 2011.
  9. "Conflict Diamonds" Global Witness, retrieved 30 November 2011.
  10. "Why we are leaving the Kimberley Process - A message from Global Witness Founding Director Charmian Gooch" Global Witness, 5 December 2011.