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Back to: REPORT ON AUF DIAMOND PROTEST
AUF Press Release
Title: AUF Protest
Date: Aug 1, 2001
DATE OF ACTION: August 22-23, 2001
VENUE: Vancouver, Canada
The African Unification Front is inviting members of the public to support us in peacefully protesting the diamond industry's activities in Africa at the 2nd Annual International Diamond Conference scheduled for August 22-23 2001, in Vancouver, Canada.
The conference venue is the Hotel Vancouver and the Fairmont Hotel on 900 West Georgia Street. The international diamond industry is responsible for the worst human rights violations, war and social failure across the African Union.
The AUF is also asking its members and supporters to alert authorities and the public in their cities and provinces about the destruction caused by the diamond industry across Africa. We plan to initiate and sustain intermitent and concurrent peaceful protests in several African cities, as well as other cities around the world beginning on August 21, 2001 and ending on a date to be decided at a future date.
Transcript of CBC Transmission on AUF Diamond Protest
Host: ALISON SMITH
Time: 22:00:00 ET - 22:30:00 ET
CBC-TV THE NATIONAL
Title: The issue of conflict or blood diamonds
ALISON SMITH: The world's top diamond sellers were all in Vancouver today, trying to deal with an issue that's threatening to shatter their industry's image. So-called conflict diamonds or blood diamonds. As Eve Savory reports, the pressure is growing to get them off the market.
EVE SAVORY (Reporter): Tiny, portable, fabulously valuable. Diamonds have fuelled passion and murder throughout time. But the atrocities in Sierra Leone and Angola, where rebels seized diamond fields and traded gems for guns have finally brought demands for the trade in blood diamonds to stop.
MARTIN RAPAPORT (Rapaport Diamond Report): I think it's an ethical issue here, it's a moral issue here, and the issue is the diamond industry has to what it can, and is doing what it can, to eliminate the problem.
SAVORY: But not everyone believes the industry is doing enough. Perhaps four percent of the world's diamonds are dirty, smuggled, death dealing.
TONY HALL (Ohio Congressman): We don't have any idea where diamonds come from. There really isn't any transparent system for diamonds as they travel from the country of origin to America, to Canada, to Europe, etcetera.
SAVORY: US politician Tony Hall came to this conference of geologists and mining companies to tell them this is wrong.
HALL: You can end the scourge of conflict diamonds, transform these gems from a curse on to many Africans into a blessing for all.
SAVORY: He drafted a Clean Diamond Act for the United States that would keep Conflict Diamonds out of the country.
HALL: And we buy somewhere between fifty and sixty-five percent of the diamonds. We have a right to ask questions. We have a right to say no more conflict diamonds coming in to America.
SAVORY: Governments and some in the industry have been working together to make it a worldwide system. Martin Rappaport calls it making diamonds kosher.
RAPPAPORT: We're going to control the flow of all diamonds to restrict and eliminate the flow of conflict diamonds. So all rough diamonds imported into diamond cutting centres will be sourced, they will have documentation where they come from, they will be sealed.
SAVORY: But not everyone in the industry is so supportive. And even those who are point out it's not diamonds that kill.
CHAIM EVAN ZOHAR (Publisher Diamond Intelligence): I don't know why they focus on diamonds. It is much easier to stop the smuggling of arms or the shipment of tanks and ammunitions and rifles.
SAVORY: Outside, a small group of protestors argue the impact of diamonds in Africa has been so evil, consumers should boycott the whole industry.
DAN KASHAGAMA (African Unification Front): So they can't just simply violate rules and rights in Africa, human rights in Africa and get away with it.
SAVORY: The Canadian diamond industry, still small but with enormous potential, could benefit from the growing ethical concerns around blood diamonds.
ROBERT BOYD (Ashton Mining of Canada): Canada is extremely well positioned to be a big part of that and to be a big part of that clean image that all of us in the industry are trying to move towards.
SAVORY: This fall, a Liberal back bencher, David Pratt, will introduce a Canadian version of a Clean Diamond Act. If passed, only diamonds with documentation could enter the country. Eve Savory, CBC News, Vancouver.
Diamond industry looks for cleaner image
WebPosted Wed Aug 22 13:29:34 2001
VANCOUVER - The world diamond industry has to make fundamental changes to the way it does business if it wants to stop the trade of so-called "blood diamonds," says a delegate at a conference beginning Wednesday in Vancouver.
LINKS: Websites related to this story
FROM THE NATIONAL: Dirty Diamonds
"It's just changing the way the industry works, and that's where the problem really lies," said Bernard Tourillon, of Afri-Can Marine Minerals Corp.
As the second annual World Diamond Conference gets under way in Vancouver, one of the main issues on the agenda will be the way diamonds are used to finance some conflicts in Africa.
The keynote address for the two-day meeting will have U.S. congressman Tony P. Hall speaking on the topic.
But it will also be an issue on the streets outside the Hotel Vancouver, as protesters plan to demonstrate the use of the rocks to support wars, murder and human rights violations.
It's been a problem for a number of years. And in March 2001, the UN Security Council hit Liberia with sanctions to stop the African country from exchanging weapons for diamonds with Sierra Leone's rebels.
Some in the diamond industry admit the problem needs to be dealt with. Cecilia Gardner, executive director of the Jewellers Vigilance Committee, says there is a plan in place to certify the origins of diamonds by the end of the year.
The hope is that doing so would put pressure on companies operating in war zones to change their ways.
"There are many in this industry who themselves or members of their families … have been victims of human rights violations," Gardner said. "The last thing they want is to be associated with this kind of conduct."
But there's a culture in the industry that has to change if the plan is to work, said Tourillon.
"This is an industry that has been based on secrecy," he said.
But protesters such as Dan Kashagama of the African Canadian Association of British Columbia don't trust the industry to solve the problems on its own.
He wants to see outside organizations such as the UN get more involved.
Written by CBC News Online staff