Protest to expose Jubilee Blood Diamond
Press Release, Friday 6th July 2012
Protest to expose Jubilee Blood Diamond
fourth consecutive weekend human rights activists in London
will stage a demonstration to highlight the linkage between
the De Beers’ Forevermark Steinmetz Jubilee Diamond put on
display in the Tower of London and the massacre of 29
members of the Samouni family during the Israeli assault on
Gaza in the winter of 2008/2009 (Operation Cast Lead)
The Steinmetz Foundation funded and supported a Unit of the Givati Brigade of the Israeli military during Cast Lead. The Givati Brigade was directly responsible for killing 29 members of the Samouni family when the house in which over 100 members of the family were forced to shelter was bombed by the Brigade. The Brigade prevented emergency medical teams from reaching the wounded and dying for four days.
A UN Human Rights Council investigation concluded that Israeli forces committed serious war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the three week assault that left over 1400 people dead including more than 300 children.
Demonstration have been held each weekend at the Tower of London since the Jubilee Diamond, now referred to by activists as the Samouni Blood Diamond, went on display three weeks ago. The Samouni family issued a video appeal to Queen Elizabeth II asking for the “offensive blood diamond” to be removed.
On Saturday 7th July a demonstration will take place outside De Beers’ jewellery shop on Piccadilly and Bond Street . According to a spokesperson the demonstrators “by focusing attention on De Beers we hope public pressure will force them to respect the wishes of the Samouni family and remove the Samouni Blood Diamond from the Tower of London . It will also provide an opportunity to inform shoppers that the diamond market is heavily contaminated with cut and polished diamonds that fund gross human rights violations, including war crimes and that these blood diamonds are not subject to any regulation and are sold to unsuspecting consumers labelled as conflict-free diamonds.“
Last December Global Witness withdrew from the international diamond regulatory system know as the Kimberley Process (KP) after it failed to broaden the definition of a “conflict diamond” to include diamonds that fund human rights violations by government forces. In June, an intercessional meeting of the KP ended without reaching agreement on a proposal to ban rough diamonds that fund human rights violations by government forces associated with the mining sector but excluding cut and polished diamonds that fund human rights violations by rogue governments.
The public can have no confidence in the Kimberley Process system of self-regulation by vested interests who refuses to ban the trade in all blood diamonds.
1. The Sammoni family’s appeal – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpUTTGz6U-c
Helmi Sammoni, speaking on behalf of the Sammoni family, issued this appeal to Queen Elizabeth II.
“On behalf of the surviving members of the Sammoni family and the hundreds of other families in Gaza who have been killed by war crimes committed by the Givati Brigade of the Israeli Army, we are shocked and disappointed by the decision of De Beers to present the Queen of England with a diamond manufactured by the Steinmetz Diamond company – a company which supported the Givati Brigade during the Israeli war on Gaza late 2008 as they murdered 29 members of our family in cold blood. We the Sammoni family call on the Queen of England and the British people to decline this gift. We demand that De Beers be instructed to remove this offensive blood diamond display immediately.” (Translated from Arabic)
2. De-Beers Forevermark Press
The Steinmetz Forevermark Jubilee Pink Diamond has gone on display at the Tower of London to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. This unique, fancy pink-brown colour, 35.60 carat cushion cut Forevermark diamond has been inscribed with a bespoke number, 19522012 – the year of HRH Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation and the 60th year of her reign. It took the experts at Steinmetz Diamonds six months to perfect the cut, crafting the beautiful cushion cut from the original 179.96 carat rough diamond.
3. Steinmetz Foundation Website – http://wwwsteinmetz-foundation.co.il/main.asp?sel_nav1=6&sel_nav2=46&sel_header=Others&cat=site
The Foundation has “adopted” Tzabar Unit of the Israeli Defense Forces’ Givati Brigade. The Foundation fosters a close relationship with the commanders and their soldiers, helps the brigade organize evening events, buys equipment for end-of-course ceremonies and gives aid to needy soldiers. During Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, the Foundation helped the Unit purchase complementary equipment as well as visited and cared for the wounded soldiers.
4. ICRC report – http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/news-release/palestine-news-080109.htm
The ICRC/PRCS team found four small children next to their dead mothers in one of the houses. They were too weak to stand up on their own. One man was also found alive, too weak to stand up. In all there were at least 12 corpses lying on mattresses. In another house, the ICRC/PRCS rescue team found 15 other survivors of this attack including several wounded. In yet another house, they found an additional three corpses.
5. UN Human Rights Council Report of the Fact-Finding Mission of the Gaza Conflict – http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/12session/A-HRC-12-48.pdf Relevant section pp.159 – 166
6. Charles Stanley, Forevermark U.S. President speaking at the Rapaport Fair Trade Diamond Conference in Las Vegas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAOg8KzyEuo
(Consumers) “…they want to know that our diamond is from a responsible source and that they can trust it.” and “We are a diamond company and that’s all we do. We mine $6 billion worth of diamonds every year and that‘s a high risk profile for any business. We can’t afford to have problems with diamonds. All of you who are selling diamonds as jewellers, we are ultimately a discretionary purchase. We rely on the fact that the consumers truly believe in the diamonds that they buy. If that promise gets unhinged in any way then economic value is eroded very very seriously and clearly as De Beers, that’s a huge risk for us and we can’t afford that to happen. So it’s vital we have to do this (Forevermark Promise) in my view and it is why De Beers have done what they have done”.
In response to a question from Alan Martin, Partnership Africa Canada, about the percentage of trade Forevermark represents for De Beers he said Forevermark represents “the vast majority of value if not volume so clearly going back to the economic issue we are clearly through that process, we continue to grow the credibility of Forevermark we will be protecting the vast majority of our value”.
Full conference video - http://www.diamonds.net/news/NewsItem.aspx?ArticleID=40380
7 . Kimberley Process Intercessional Meeting Ends in D.C.
“Addressing the concerns of Asian and African countries, the chair advised that new definition would focus solely on mining-related violence and would not seek to reprimand countries for violence that fell outside of the scope of the diamond industry.”