November 9, 2001
JA Releases Talking Points on Conflict Diamond-Al Qaeda Connection
Jewelers of America sent an urgent alert to its members about news of the connection between conflict diamond sales and the al Qaeda terrorist network. It lists important facts to use in answering media or consumer inquiries. Key among them:
America's jewelers are at the forefront of those working to ensure all diamonds for sale are from legitimate sources. Individual jewelers are working with their suppliers to be as certain as possible that the diamonds carried in their stores are conflict-free.
JA and a large human rights coalition joined forces to support H.R. 2722, The Clean Diamond Trade Act, currently before Congress. The bill, along with its companion in the Senate, would bar the import of conflict diamonds into the U.S. and would encourage establishment of a global system to end the trade in these stones.
JA, through its affiliation with the World Diamond Council, is lending support to the Kimberley Process, the international effort to establish a certification system to ensure that all diamonds carry certificates that they are from legitimate mines and aren't being sold to support conflict or terrorism. About 30 countries that mine, process and import diamonds are involved. A report on the group's program will be presented to the United Nations by the end of this year.
JA sent its members a variety of resources to help them contact their congressional representatives to urge passage of The Clean Diamond Trade Act. Also, it has vendor agreement forms and educational materials for training store employees about this issue. Contact JA at (800) 223-0673 or visit the conflict diamonds section of its Web site at www.jewelers.org.
Meanwhile, JA appeared with Senate and House sponsors of The Clean Diamond Trade Act on Thursday on Capitol Hill. JA and the legislators urged Congress to act on the legislation immediately in light of conflict diamonds' new connection to al Qaeda terrorism. "The diamond an age-old symbol of love is becoming part of the international currency of terrorism," said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). 'Whatever the scope of al Qaeda's involvement, it is clear that we need to put this resource beyond terrorists' reach," said U.S. Rep. Tony Hall (D-OH).
- by Peggy Jo Donahue