Dubai Airport Planning Crack Down on Rough Diamond Smugglers

Security is tightening at Dubai International Airport as the emirate cracks down on rough-diamond smugglers. Dubai’s diamond market has increased exponentially over the past few years, from US$2 million in 2002 to US$40 billion in 2011. Dubai’s International Airport also continues to grow. In 2011 a record 51 million passengers passed through the airport, a number which is expected to have increased to around 90 million by 2018.

Dubai is also hoping to increase the number of Kimberley Process Certificates, which certify the origin of a rough diamond, by 33% this year alone. “We are constantly increasing our security measures in accordance with international best practice,” said Maryam Al Hashemi, the director of the United Arab Emirates’ Kimberley Process.

The Kimberley Process, named after the city in South Africa, was established in 2003 to prevent diamonds used to fund conflict from entering the mainstream market.

Says Al Hashemi: “We have held a working group with Dubai police and Dubai customs to discuss various initiatives to boost security by checking and apprehending passengers, prior to boarding, on suspicion of carrying non-Kimberley Process approved rough diamonds.”

The additional security measures build on the framework established when the Kimberley Process Certificate Scheme was first launched in the UAE in 2003.

“We are considering various options and have also put into practice several initiatives to meet attempted smuggling,” said Brigadier Pilot Ahmad bin Thani, the director general of the Department of Airport Security for the Dubai police. “Finding the balance is not an easy task, but we are working diligently to lead that effort. We want to make the UAE one of the safest countries in the world.”

The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre authority is the only legal entry and exit point for rough diamonds in the UAE.