Amnesty International to Address Blood Diamond November 14 in California

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RAPAPORT…  Amnesty International USA plans to devote its quarterly human rights salon to discuss conflict diamonds and child soldiers at its November 14, 2006 meeting in Beverly Hills, California. According to the non-governmental organization’s announcement, the agenda was prompted by the upcoming release of Warner Bro.’s film Blood Diamond.

“While Blood Diamond represents Sierra Leone’s recent history, the devastating and very real issues it raises still exist in other African countries and beyond,” said Bonnie Abaunza, director of AIUSA’s Artists for Amnesty program. “Individuals like Nicolas Cage and Kanye West have already demonstrated the impact of their commitment to raise awareness and help victims in these countries; this salon provides the means for artists and entertainment industry leaders to be educated and help lobby for change.”

Panelists in attendance will discuss how blood diamonds have fuelled wars in Africa and how children are recruited to fight as soldiers in those conflicts. A 15-minute excerpt of the upcoming The History Channel documentary Blood Diamonds, about the civil war in Sierra Leone, will be screened. The event will also mark the launch of a joint Amnesty International/Global Witness website on conflict diamonds.

Panelists include: journalist and author Jimmie Briggs (Innocents Lost – When Child Soldiers Go to War,) Charmian Gooch, executive director of Global Witness; Bill Brummel, producer of The History Channel Blood Diamonds documentary; and Bonnie Abaunza, director of Artists for Amnesty. Invited guests include artists and entertainment industry professionals as well as students and members of the press.

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