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EU urged to end trade in Israel diamonds

Human Rights Campaigners say Kimberley Process Must Suspend Israel and Ban Israeli Diamonds Exports, according to their press release.

A global coalition of organisations working for justice and peace in Palestine have called on the EU to seek the suspension of Israel from the Kimberley Process and a ban on Israel diamond exports at next week ’s meeting of the diamond regulatory body in Antwerp.

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is the process established in 2000 to prevent “conflict diamonds” from entering the mainstream rough diamond market by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 55/56 following recommendations in the Fowler Report. The process was set up “to ensure that diamond purchases were not financing violence by rebel movements and their allies seeking to undermine legitimate governments.”

READ: $83 million diamond default: Sotheby’s and Israeli war crimes

In the wake of the latest Israeli massacres in Gaza, which Human Rights Watch say “may amount to war crimes” and called on the international community to “impose real costs for such blatant disregard for Palestinian lives” it is imperative that diamonds which generate revenue used to fund the Israeli military are banned.

Israel is the biggest net beneficiary of the global diamond trade with exports worth US$11 billion net in 2014 when diamonds accounted for 30% of manufacturing exports.

Revenue from the Israeli diamond industry is a highly significant source of funding for the Israeli government and its violent settler-colonial project in Palestine.

Despite generating an estimated $1 billion per year in funding for Israeli occupation forces which stand accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, the proliferation of unregulated nuclear weapons and the enforcement of a system of apartheid jewellers claim diamonds processed in Israel are conflict-free.

Diamonds that are a significant source of funding for violations of international humanitarian law or international human rights law are regarded as blood diamonds.

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The jewellery industry refuses to ban all blood diamonds and limited the remit of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme to “conflict diamonds” which are defined as rough diamonds used by rebel groups to fund violence against legitimate governments.

Other blood diamonds that fund rogue regimes guilty of grievous human rights violations evade regulation and legally contaminate the market where they account for 20% of the market share in value terms and are sold to unsuspecting consumers labelled conflict-free.

Pledge

The EU chair of the Kimberley Process 2018, Hilde Hardeman, to seek the immediate suspension of Israel from the Kimberley Process until such time as a full, independent and transparent investigation of the actions of Israeli forces in Gaza between March 30th 2018 and June 8th 2018 is completed and appropriate measures are taken to bring to justice all those responsible for the massacres which occurred and as far as possible remediate the injustices perpetrated against innocent victims and their families.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, non-governmental organisations active in promoting responsible mineral supply chains including Global Witness, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Impact Transform and representative organisations of the global jewellery industry at national level and international level, in particular, the World Diamond Council, to voice their support for Israel’s suspension from the Kimberley Process and a complete embargo on the trade in diamonds from Israel until it can be shown that the Israeli government is not using revenue from the diamond industry to fund grievous human rights violations.

READ: How the global jewellery industry is funding Israeli crimes

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