(Rapaport…June 1, 2000) Amnesty International demanded and end to the international trade of diamonds from rebel-held areas in Sierra Leone.
“Diamonds from Sierra Leone have been used to fund the transfer of weapons to Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels who have committed widespread human rights abuses in Sierra Leone,” said Amnesty International.
In 1997, The United Nations Security Council imposed an arms embargo on Sierra Leone, which was later modified in 1998 to apply only to rebel forces. “The enforcement of the embargo must be strengthened through establishment of an independent investigation into diamond trading in the region to ensure that diamond trading from RUF controlled areas is not funding further arms transfers”, said Amnesty International.
Amnesty argued that diamonds from Sierra Leone are not critical for the global diamond industry saying that according to De Beers, diamonds from Sierra Leone make up about 1 percent of the total value of diamonds sold worldwide.
Close to 60 people protested in front of the U.S. State Department, chanting “N justice, No diamonds.” They carried signs that read “Sierra Leone is Dying for Diamonds.”