JA and Global Witness Focus on Conflict Diamonds

June 21, 2000

JA and Global Witness Focus on Conflict Diamonds

Jewelers of America Inc. has sent a package of tools to its more than 10,000 members to help them address the issue of conflict-diamond sales.

The package contains a vendor guidance agreement for the retailer and supplier to sign guaranteeing not to sell conflict diamonds knowingly. It also includes a public statement for use with customers and in advertising detailing the anticonflict diamond policy. In addition, the package has a copy of the November 1999 "JA Update on the Diamond Controversy" and a copy of the "Industry Position Statement" issued in January 2000.

JA suggests all members quickly adopt the vendor guidance agreement and make it store policy. Members are encouraged to use these tools to proactively do their part to stop the flow of illicit diamonds that fund rebel atrocities and to assure consumers the diamonds they buy are conflict-free. "Our members have shown great concern about this issue, and we are pleased to be able to give them the tools to communicate this to their customers and vendors," says JA President Matthew A. Runci. "We will continue to assist our members in every way we can in dealing with this issue. We recognize the importance of stopping the flow of conflict diamonds and fully pledge our support to those working toward that end."

Also this week, Global Witness, a human rights organization working to bring international attention to the conflict-diamond issue, released a 42-page report called "Conflict Diamonds: Possibilities for the Identification, Certification and Control of Diamonds." The report outlines a number of recommendations to help end trade of conflict diamonds through a global diamond certification and verification system.

Global Witness suggests setting up a system to be monitored by an independent diamond verification organization and backed up by industry self-regulation and government legislation. Most of the recommendations listed are similar to those issued at a conference of southern African diamond-producing nations in May and from De Beers earlier this month. The one recommendation from Global Witness not previously suggested is to exclude the holders of government office, the military and the police, along with close family of each, from being registered to mine or trade in diamonds.

The report also gives important information about the structure of the diamond industry, diamond identification methodologies, legislation on the export and import of diamonds, technologies and control systems currently in use in the diamond trade and certification systems for other products.

You can download a copy of the report from the Global Witness Web site at www.globalwitness.org.

- by Julia M. Duncan