JA Member Letter Urging Support of Conflict Diamonds Bills

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JA is asking all 10,000 plus memebers to call and write letters to their Reps and Senators in support of pending conflict diamonds legislation.

The following is the letter being sent to all JA members, JA affiliates and other industry trade associations. RDR is also posting JA’s sample letters and phonecall guidelines.

August 15, 2001

Dear JA member:

As you may be aware, the campaign to eliminate conflict diamonds made progress earlier this month with the introduction in the House of Representatives of HR 2722. This is the companion measure to the bill introduced in the Senate in June, S 1084. This legislation, which would require the establishment of a global rough diamond certification system designed to eliminate the trade in conflict diamonds, has the strong support of Jewelers of America and the World Diamond Council. This legislation is necessary if we are to assure our customers that the diamonds we sell are free from taint.

The legislation also represents a very welcome consensus reached between your industry representatives and other interested parties, including the coalition of humanitarian and religious organizations called the Campaign to Eliminate Conflict Diamonds. Legislators who previously backed alternate bills – including one opposed by the industry – now are united in support of the consensus approach. In short, all of the significant parties concerned with this important issue now stand on common ground in terms of the legislation necessary to solve the problem.

While introduction of the House bill is a significant step forward, there is still a critical challenge ahead. We must now secure enactment in the relatively brief period between the time Congress reconvenes after Labor Day and adjournment in late autumn. Given procedural obstacles and other factors, this task requires considerable effort. Your help is essential.

Here’s what you need to do:

· Be in touch with your U.S. Representative and both U.S. Senators from your state in the next two weeks to let them know why prompt, favorable action on these bills is important. We are asking you to do this in two ways:

· Call your Representative’s and Senators’ local offices during this summer recess. A tip sheet to help you make this call is included in this packet.

· Follow up your calls with letters to your lawmakers’ offices in Washington, D.C., with a copy to their local offices. We are taking the liberty of enclosing sample letters that could be used as a basis for your own letters. Please feel free to use these letters if you wish, but be sure to personalize them where indicated. If you happen to be acquainted with your Representative or Senator, mentioning that relationship would be helpful. Of course, the letter should be sent on your business letterhead.

· This second communication is vital – it serves as a written record of your position. You can also use this correspondence for your own purposes, as evidence of your commitment to finding a solution to this issue.

· If you need help locating the local offices of your Representative or Senators, resources are available. You can call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected directly to the Washington office of your elected official, whose staff will give you a local number and address. Or, if you prefer, you can use the websites www.house.gov and www.senate.gov to look up your elected officials and find the phone numbers and addresses of their offices.

This effort must be made immediately. It is very much in the interest of all jewelry retailers that the conflict diamond issue be settled and the controversy about it put to rest. This is the proper course for both moral and business reasons.

Please send copies of your letters to JA’s New York office. If you have any questions, please be in touch with us.


Matthew A. Runci

President and CEO

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