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Increasing Pressure for Lev Leviev


Adalah-NY: The Coalition for Justice in the Middle East

For immediate release

Diamond Mogul, Lev Leviev, Facing Increasing Pressure for Human Rights
Violations

New York, NY, June 19, 2008 – A senior advisor to UNICEF’s Director
said in a letter today that UNICEF will reject all partnerships with,
or financial support from, Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev. Leviev had
previously provided UNICEF with support by sponsoring fundraising
events in France. Leviev’s past support for UNICEF is featured in a
number of places on his company’s website (www.leviev.com).

UNICEF’s rejection of Leviev’s support followed meetings with Adalah-
NY, letters from organizations and Palestinian communities advocating
a boycott of Leviev’s companies, and a visit by UNICEF officials to
Jayyous, one of the Palestinian communities where a Leviev company is
building Israeli settlements. Leviev’s diamond-mining companies in
Angola have also been accused of serious human rights abuses.

Abdullah Abu Rahme, a community leader from the West Bank village of
Bil’in, said, “We welcome UNICEF’s decision to hold one of the
companies that has been building Mattityahu East settlement
accountable for attempting to destroy our community. Our village has
engaged in a three year nonviolent campaign to save our land, and an
international boycott is an important complement to our weekly
protests. This is a victory, but we need many more like it.” Leviev’s
companies have also recently built homes in the settlements of Maale
Adumim and Har Homa, both of which cut off East Jerusalem from the
West Bank.

A June 19 letter to Adalah-NY from Chris De Bono, senior
communications advisor to UNICEF’s Executive Director, stated:
"Yesterday we confirmed that UNICEF has concluded that it will not
consider partnerships - direct or indirect - with Mr. Lev Leviev or
any of his corporate entities, and will not accept financial or other
support that we know is from him or his corporate entities. The
concerned parts of the UNICEF family, including our national
committees, have been advised of this." (See the full UNICEF letter:
http://adalahny.org/images/stories/unicef-leviev.pdf) The letter
followed a June 18th meeting at UNICEF’s New York headquarters with
representatives from Adalah-NY.

In a previous March 25, 2008 letter to Adalah-NY, UNICEF explained
that Leviev had indirectly supported UNICEF three times, “each time as
a sponsor of fundraising activities organized by the French magazine
Gala in support of UNICEF.” In the same letter UNICEF expressed its
support for UN resolutions stating that Israeli settlements violate
international law. Then in April, UNICEF received letters demanding
that it reject all support from Leviev from Jewish Voice for Peace,
Defence for Children International-Palestine, the villages of Jayyous
and Bil’in, The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
Campaign, and Jews Against the Occupation.

The Mayor of the West Bank village of Jayyous, Mohammed Taher Jaber,
commented: “UNICEF officials visited us in May and saw the terrible
impacts on our children of the theft of our farmland for the expansion
of Zufim settlement by Leviev’s company Leader. We thank UNICEF for
upholding international law, and supporting children’s rights, and we
call on other organizations to do the same.”

When contacted by Adalah-NY in January, Oxfam International announced
publicly that it had not received support from Leviev, contrary to
press reports and information on one of Leviev’s websites, and that it
would not accept his support in the future due to Leviev’s companies’
settlement construction. Dubai has also recently announced that it
would not allow Leviev to open planned jewelry stores in the Emirate
following boycott calls issued by Adalah-NY and Palestinian
communities.

ends


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