RealDiamondFacts.org Launches Parody of DiamondFacts.org

150 150 Rapaport News

RAPAPORT… RealDiamondFacts.org launched a “parody” of the website operated by the World Diamond Council (diamondfacts.org,) according to the website’s parent organization Diamonds for Africa Fund. The parody “includes a set of facts the industry does not want consumers to know,” the organization reported.

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realdiamondfacts.org

diamondfacts.org

Content across realdiamondfacts.org quotes news and NGO reports from the blood diamond wars in Sierra Leone. It also links to a number of other sites some of which include Partnership Africa Canada, Global Witness, and Amnesty International; and retailers BrilliantEarth, GreenKarat, and LeberJeweler.

No one at Global Witness was available for comment at press time.  Ian Smillie of Partnership Africa Canada told Rapaport News that he was made aware of the website a few days ago, but added that it was not clear who owned the website. Realdiamondfacts.org only listed an e-mail address on the website — no additional organizational information.

At press time the site’s registrar information, which was created August 1, 2006, and updated October 11, listed its owner as Foday Sankoh, the founder of Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front who died in 2003 while awaiting trial for war crimes. Tiffany & Co.’s corporate address and main switchboard number were listed for contact information.

Tiffany & Co.’s spokesperson Linda Buckley was made aware of website on October 13, and said that even though the contact address and telephone number pointed to Tiffany, the luxury retailer was not in anyway involved with the website.

The website’s public relations representative, Severn Williams, told Rapaport  that the registrar information would be updated to reflect corrected information.

At the heart of the parody is the World Diamond Council’s diamondfacts.org, which was launched in two phases during the second half of 2006. The first phase was launched in July and the second, and current version, was launched in August. World Diamond Council chairman Eli Izhakoff was traveling at press time and was not available to comment on the parody website. The user intent for diamondfacts.org website is to offer information to both consumers and trade on issues regarding conflict diamonds and the Kimberley Process.

“The elimination of conflict diamond is a moral imperative for the entire industry and based on our past success it is an attainable goal,” Izhakoff said at the time of launching diamondfacts.org.

Diamonds for Africa Fund representatives wrote in its realdiamondfacts.org launch statement, “The site explains how the diamond industry has prospered while perpetuating violence, human rights abuses, and brutal exploitation of children and women in some of the poorest African nations.

“It also explains how the Kimberley Process, a mechanism designed to curb the sale of conflict diamonds, fails to address human rights abuses such as state-sanctioned violence, horrific labor conditions, and environmental destruction.”

The website started to gain traction across the Internet when the original website designer, who is not affiliated with Diamonds for Africa Fund, posted the link to realdiamondfacts.org from his personal blog, which then found its way on an anonymous post at the Orlando Sentinel newspaper’s blog.

“Some of their criticism of the Kimberley Process is well placed in terms of its effectiveness,” said Smillie, “But instead of telling five year old war stories from Africa it would be better to hold governments that control the Kimberley Process accountable for its weaknesses.”

Diamonds for Africa Fund is planning a fundraiser to coincide with the release of Warner Bros.’ film Blood Diamond in December 2006. Organizers call on consumers to donate diamonds s/he no longer wears and in turn the money collected from the sale of those diamonds goes to rebuild communities in Africa where blood diamond wars left the deepest scars.

Diamonds for Africa Fund’s benefactors include the San Bushmen in Botswana, health care and education programs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and children in Sierra Leone who are affected by conflict diamonds. Donations are tax deductible with all proceeds from the sale of donated diamonds benefiting these communities, according to the organization’s founders.

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