Indian Diamond Community Embargos Conflict Diamonds

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The following is the full text of a press release from the Indian Diamond Community:

THE INDIAN DIAMOND COMMUNITY EMBARGOS CONFLICT DIAMONDS:

The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), India’s apex trade promotion body, has reiterated its resolve to keep away from “conflict diamonds” generated out of strife torn Sierra Leone, Angola and the Congo in Africa. The GJEPC has once again strongly condemned the use of diamonds to fund activities of terrorist groups like UNITA in Angola.

The resolution was passed in April this year in line with the UN Security Council Resolution No 1173 and 1176 early this year.

Echoing concerns expressed by the UN Security Council, Mr Sanjay Kothari, Chairman, GJEPC, said, “It is perturbing and a matter of deep concern that illicit diamonds, however negligible in number, are making their way into the mainstream of the International Diamond Trade. It is understood that these diamonds are being used for funding activities of terrorist rival groups, which is contrary to the UN resolution.

“The time has come for the diamond community world wide to join hands and express solidarity with the UN resolution and uphold the sanctity and respect for human lives. The Indian diamond community is committed to achieve the objectives set by the UN and create a world free of conflict diamonds. The GJEPC has also initiated a dialogue with leaders of other manufacturing countries like Israel and Antwerp, with De Beers and NGO’s like Global Witness to arrive at constructive solutions,” he added.

India has achieved the status of a world leader in the international diamond market making it all the more necessary for India to insist that no conflict diamonds find their way into the trade. Mr Kothari underscored the fact that the import of rough diamonds into India was sourced through traditional international centres and monitored through a system of import license. There are no imports of rough diamonds from any mining centers directly into India.

Undertaking to implement the UN resolution in letter and spirit, the GJEPC has taken the following initiatives:

1. All exporters of rough diamonds to India will have to declare / mention the origin of diamonds and will have to ensure that they do not originate from the conflict areas of Sierra Leone, Angola and the DRC, with effect from 7th July 2000.

2. The GJEPC also recommends that banks financing diamond industry should ensure that they do not finance any exporter who is found to be dealing in conflict diamonds and if any client is enjoying banking facilities, they may be withdrawn with immediate effect.

3. If any member of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council were found to be dealing in conflict diamonds, he would be debarred from membership of GJEPC.

In pursuance of its commitment to keep conflict diamonds from entering the mainstream of international trade, the Indian diamond industry is also sending its delegations to all international high-level meetings for evolving a proper strategy to deal with the matter.

Mr Sanjay Kothari, reflected, “Diamonds have been and continue to be the symbol of eternal love, beauty and purity. The Indian Diamond Trade is committed that this symbol of love is not tarnished by the entry of conflict diamonds and sullied with the atrocities of war.”

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