‘May I see a copy of your company’s policy on conflict diamonds?’

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RAPAPORT…  In a joint statement distributed by Amnesty International and Global Witness, with the support of the director and cast members of the movie Blood Diamond, the message for buying diamonds this Christmas season is “consumers should demand conflict-free diamonds.”

“Despite the tragedies that blood diamonds have caused, neither governments nor the diamond industry is doing enough to stop them,” said Global Witness director Charmian Gooch.

“Consumers have the power to effect industry-wide changes simply by demanding that their diamonds are clean,” she said.

The organizations urge consumers to ask retailers:

1) Do you know where your diamonds come from?
2) May I see a copy of your company’s policy on conflict diamonds?
3) Can you show me a written guarantee from your diamond suppliers stating that your diamonds are conflict free?
4) How can I be sure that none of your jewelry contains conflict diamonds?

Blood Diamond movie actress Jennifer Connelly, who is Amnesty International USA’s Ambassador for Human Rights Education, recently shot a public service announcement to further the organizations’ fight against conflict diamonds.

“Blood diamonds are not just a problem of the past,” said Bonnie Abaunza, director of Amnesty International USA’s Artists for Amnesty program. “More than $23 million in blood diamonds are currently being smuggled into U.S. and international markets from West Africa. Entertainment and industry leaders have important roles to play as advocates who can influence the United States to demand better checks on the diamond industry.”

Amnesty International and Global Witness plan to publish a new survey, which will include the top 75 diamond retailers and suppliers in the United States, to ensure that the industry has addressed the gaps uncovered since the organizations’ 2004 survey. The results of the survey will be posted on www.blooddiamondaction.org in February 2007.

The organizations are offering form letters that consumers can download and send to their elected officials and to the World Diamond Council urging better controls of the diamond industry.

“To further educate and engage young people about blood diamonds — as well as child soldiers, another main theme in the movie — Amnesty International USA’s Human Rights Education program has developed a curriculum guide to be used in conjunction with the public service announcements in high schools and universities across the country,” the organizations declared.

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