A Video to Consumers of DiamondsAlvara Genie Miriam Gutman Kaitlin Hodgman Katie Lotz Helen Poliquin Nancy Gleason
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A Video To Consumers of Diamonds
Four hundred million dollars worth of diamonds at the Oscars each year...up to twenty percent could have contributed to millions of deaths and displaced people.
Do you know where your diamonds come from?
Diamonds are perfect for smuggling... small...with no smell...and no trace...
Africa produces 49% of the world's diamonds.
Conflict diamonds are diamonds that are controlled by corrupt governments or rebel forces...
Used to fund violence...and terrorism...and are mined by forced labor.
"There is a strong perception that he who controls the diamonds will control the country." - Martin Rapaport, founder of the Rapaport Diamond Report
In 1991, an uprising in Sierra Leone turned into a massacre, and until recently, the country was held by rebels who used blood diamonds to finance their violence.
The rebels used child soldiers to rape, mutilate and murder thousands of fellow citizens.
Despite global efforts to clean up the diamond trade and eliminate conflict diamonds, numerous abuses still go unaddressed and smuggling is difficult to stop.
In 2003 the United Nations General Assembly came together to regulate the diamond trade.It aimed to prevent blood diamonds from entering the mainstream market and to assure consumers they were not financing war and human rights abuses. The Kiimberly Process is open to all countries that are willing to implement its requirements.
Member countries produce 99.8 percent of all diamonds.
Participants can only legally trade with other participants and shipments of diamonds must have a certificate guaranteeing they are conflict free. Many companies that purchase diamonds have moved their businesses to participating nations. This has increased the revenue of poor governments and helped them to address development challenges.
However, diamonds that have funded murders, forced labor, rape, and political oppression are currently on the market with "conflict free" certification.
The shortcomings of the Kimberly Process have resulted in a failure to keep blood diamonds out of international markets. It does not cover the trade of polished stones. Unwilling participants can block progress on key issues so countries cannot be held accountable.
The Kimberly Process is not enforceable truly. The definition of blood diamonds is limited to abusive rebel groups not abusive governments.
It does not certify fare trade.
Most importantly, the Kimberly Process does not oversee other human rights abuses including child labor, government sponsored violence, and worker exploitation...
There are about one million diggers in Africa who earn less than a dollar a day from mining diamonds. By international standards, this unlivable wage is below the extreme poverty line, depriving these miners of basic needs such as water and sanitation and increasing mortality rates and illiteracy.
The Diamond Industry has fallen short of implementing the necessary policies for self-regulation. The retail sector in particular fails to provide sufficient assurance to consumers that the diamonds they sell are conflict-free.
83% of US jewelers say their customers 'rarely or never' inquire about the source of diamonds.
56% of jewelers do not even have an auditing procedure in place to prevent the retail of conflict diamonds.
So what can you do to help fix the flaws in the Kimberly Process?
Send letters to your members of congress explaining that you feel that the Kimberly Process needs to have better enforcement and stricter rules.
Use your strength as a consumer to pressure the diamond retail business to only purchase and sell conflict-free diamonds.
Amnesty International gives a list of four important questions to ask.
How can I be sure that none of your jewelry contains conflict diamonds?
What is your primary source for diamond jewelry?
Can I see a copy of your company's policy on conflict diamonds or written guarantees from your suppliers that your diamonds are conflict free?
How often to consumers ask you about conflict diamonds?
The more people that know about the issue, the more people that can help fix it!
Alvaro Genie - Content Manager
Miriam Gutman - Project Manager
Kaitlyn Hodgman - Writer
Katie Lotz - Artistic Director
Helen Poliquin - iMovie Guru