World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Diamonds: Jewellers keeping consumers in the dark

Conflict Diamonds: Jewellers keeping consumers in the dark A survey of diamond retailers by Amnesty International and Global Witness

A survey out today reveals that almost two years after the diamond industry committed itself to a system of self-regulation to prevent the trade in diamonds from regions of conflict, retailers in the US and UK are still failing to live up to their promises.

The survey of leading diamond companies and stores in the US and UK found that fewer than one in five companies that responded in writing provided a meaningful account of their policy and less than half of diamond jewellery retailers visited in stores were able to give consumers meaningful assurances that diamonds are conflict free.

The results, which are part of a wider ongoing survey, show that the diamond industry has failed to adequately implement a system of self regulation launched in January 2003. The industry’s commitment required it to issue written warranties and implement a code of conduct to support the international Kimberley Process Certification Scheme preventing the trade in conflict diamonds.

"The continued lack of systematic monitoring throughout the diamond industry suggests that the industry is not taking the issue seriously enough," said Alessandra Masci of Amnesty International. "The trade in conflict diamonds has been at the heart of some of Africa's most protracted and bloody wars. Diamonds have fuelled conflicts in Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone, destroying nations and costing millions of lives."

Amnesty International and Global Witness sent letters to 85 major diamond jewellery retailers and Amnesty International activists visited 579 stores in the US and UK. The main findings, presented to this week's World Diamond Congress (WDC) in New York, include the following:

Despite an industry commitment to educate employees about company diamond regulations, staff in only 42% of stores were aware of their company's policy.

Out of 85 companies that were sent letters requesting written information about their policies, 48 (56%) failed to respond including major diamond jewellery retailers like Asprey, Theo Fennell and Debenhams in the UK, and Costco Whole Sale Corporation, T.J.Maxx and Kmart in the US.

32 out of the 37 companies that responded (86%) are implementing the system of warranties and have a policy to prevent dealing in conflict diamonds. However 30 of the companies responding (81%) did not provide adequate details on how the system of warranties is being implemented and audited. The World Diamond Council, the industry body responsible for coordinating industry efforts to tackle conflict diamonds, is still falling far short on adequately monitoring self-regulation implementation on a global level.

Today's results are part of a wider ongoing survey in which more than 800 retailers and suppliers have been contacted in Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Switzerland but so far only 52 have responded with information on their policy.

"As the public face of the industry, diamond jewellery retailers must do more to show their commitment to comply with the self-regulation and actively promote compliance by their suppliers," said Corinna Gilfillan of Global Witness. " The World Diamond Council and other key industry bodies must develop a common standard for verifying compliance, and we hope that trade organizations will follow Jewelers of America's recent initiative to monitor its members."

Global Witness and Amnesty International are calling on governments in the Kimberley Process to ensure that the diamond industry fully implements the code of conduct. The Kimberley Process must require that the participating governments carry out rigorous auditing and inspections of companies to ensure the effectiveness of the self-regulation, to guarantee that diamonds do not fund conflict or human rights abuses, and report back to the Kimberley Process in 2005.

For a full report of the survey results please go to:


Visit the "Economic globalization and human rights" web pages at

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news