De Beers Calls For Action on Conflict Diamonds

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This is a De Beers Press Release:

De Beers has sent a letter, signed by Nicky Oppenheimer, Chairman, and Gary Ralfe, Managing Director, to the Presidents of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, the International Diamond Manufactures’ Association, other industry associations and diamond bourses worldwide, calling for a collective response to the issue of diamonds being used as a source of funding for rebel armies in Africa.

Ahead of the forthcoming World Diamond Congress which is scheduled to take place in Antwerp in July, De Beers is urging the leaders of the diamond industry to expel from the world diamond community those found to be dealing in so-called ‘conflict diamonds’.

De Beers commends Israel for its recent statement calling for the expulsion of ‘conflict diamond’ dealers from the Israel Diamond Exchange.

De Beers will continue to work with the United Nations, the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development (US AID), the British Foreign Office and Non Governmental Organizations to support international efforts to isolate the trade in ‘conflict diamonds’ which represents approximately 4 percent of world production, and to distinguish it from the 96 percent which is derived from legitimate and reputable sources and from the legitimate diamond trade which provides employment for over one million people in the producing countries and cutting centers, and underpins the economies of many producing nations.

De Beers has already taken steps to ensure that all the diamonds it sells can be confidentially labeled as ‘conflict free’. In addition to the call for firm action by the diamond industry, De Beers has set out a number of other key measures which, if implemented, will help to prevent diamonds from conflict areas reaching legitimate diamond markets.

Other De Beers recommendations are as follows:

– The introduction of standard documentation by all importing countries which would require a true statement of origin of all stones, rather than simply a declaration of provenance. This would discourage the use of official channels for those who would conceal the origin of their stones. False disclosure would mean the confiscation of the diamonds.

– Governments to enact the new laws to empower diamond import control offices to refuse entry to wrongly declared or described rough diamonds.

– Diamond control offices to acquire original run-of-mine alluvial samples from each diamond producing country to enable officers to more easily determine the true origin of imported rough diamond parcels

– Banks serving the diamond industry to agree on a standard declaration by their customers that they undertake not to deal in conflict diamonds. Banking facilities to be withdrawn from customers who refuse to sign or to abide by the declaration.

– An exchange of staff between alluvial diamond producing countries and diamond cutting center import/export offices to harmonize paperwork and train staff in the recognition of the true origin of diamond imports.

– The mandatory publication of official annual rough diamond import/export statistics by all countries that handle rough diamonds

De Beers has also stated that it would be willing, if requested by international agencies, to deploy its staff, skills and expertise to support the implementation of the above measures.

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