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Last Updated: Friday, 8 June 2007, 05:26 GMT 06:26 UK
Report warns of 'conflict cocoa'
By David Bamford
BBC News

Cocoa beans from Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast is the world's largest producer of cocoa
Revenue from the cocoa trade has helped fuel years of conflict in Ivory Coast, says an international group campaigning against exploitation.

In a report titled Hot Chocolate, Global Witness called on the UN and chocolate companies to ensure chocolate no longer funds conflict.

It urges them to take advantage of a lull in the unrest in Ivory Coast to introduce reforms.

Ivory Coast is the largest producer of cocoa - chocolate's main ingredient.

Sanctions call

Wars in Africa need to be paid for - and many of the continent's most bitter conflicts take place in areas richest in natural resources.

Global Witness says that in the same way that "blood diamonds" have adversely affected the lives of people in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and oil has fuelled violence in the Niger Delta, so cocoa has done the same in Ivory Coast.

Since 2002, the cocoa region has been split between government and rebel-held regions.

According to Global Witness, millions of dollars worth of cocoa revenue have funded both sides in the conflict, with the tacit acceptance of cocoa companies based in America and Europe.

Global Witness says the chocolate industry has a responsibility to ensure that its profits are conflict-free.

Companies can do this through careful monitoring and auditing.

The Ivory Coast's finances should be more transparent, it says, and the UN Security Council should threaten sanctions against those who divert cocoa revenue into West African conflict.

How the cocoa trade could have funded civil war

Labouring for chocolate
27 Apr 07 |  Business
Timeline: Ivory Coast
26 Apr 07 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Ivory Coast
16 Apr 07 |  Country profiles

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