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Alert 8th Dec 2017 - Vigil To Demand Kimberley Process Stop Shielding Trade In Israeli Blood Diamonds
6 December 2017
DATE: Friday 8th December 2017, 1:30pm-3:30pm
LOCATION: Australian High Commission, Australia House, Strand, London, WC2B 4LA (Temple tube)
6th December 2017, www.inminds.com
On 8th December 2017, the eve of the Kimberley Process Plenary Meeting in Brisbane, Inminds human rights group will hold a vigil outside the Australian High Commission in London to highlight the failure of the Kimberley Process in preventing the trade in blood diamonds that fund human rights violations around the world, in particular in Palestine. Australia chairs the Kimberley Process this year, and is hosting the Kimberley Process Plenary Meeting.
Inminds chair Abbas Ali said "We are here to ask Australia to fulfil its duty as chair of the Kimberley Process, to stop ignoring the human suffering bankrolled by the trade in cut and polished blood diamonds by rogue regimes like Israel, and correct the notoriously corrupt definition of 'conflict diamond' designed to shield rampant human rights abusers like Israel."
The Kimberley Process (KP) was supposed to prevent the trade in conflict diamonds that fund human rights violations. However, The KPís narrow definition of a ďconflict diamondĒ as "rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance armed conflicts aimed at undermining legitimate governments" excludes cut and polished diamonds, and excludes rogue regimes like Israel using diamonds to finance war crimes. Jewellers exploit this anomaly, deceitfully claiming diamonds crafted in Israel are conflict free despite the UN Human Rights Council having found Israel guilty of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.
Israel is one of the worldís leading producers of cut & polished diamonds. It imports rough diamonds, more than doubles their value by cutting & polishing, and exports them globally via hubs in London, Antwerp, HK, NY & Mumbai. Last year, in 2016, Israel's net export of diamonds was worth $9 billion, making it Israel's #1 industry by far with a 26% share of Israel's manufacturing exports - more than the combined exports of Israel's next top two industries - electronics and pharmaceuticals.
Evidence given at the Russell Tribunal in November 2010 by the Israeli economist Shir Hever revealed that "Overall the Israeli diamond industry contributes about $1 billion annually to the Israeli military and security industries". Shir Hever added "every time somebody buys a diamond that was exported from Israel some of that money ends up in the Israeli military".
ISRAEL PERVERTING THE KIMBERLEY PROCESS
Two years ago, in October 2015, at the annual general meeting of the World Diamond Council in Moscow, there was a draft proposal to empower the Kimberley Process by widening the definition of conflict diamonds "to include countries who flout human rights laws not just in mining areas but also in diamond trading centers". The institutes of the World Diamond Council had already confirmed the change in definition, before the President of the Israel Diamond Exchange, Shmuel Schnitzer, personally intervened to put a stop to it saying "it could be disastrous for Israel". The already agreed change in the definition of a conflict diamond was binned to shield Israel's blood diamond trade.
Israel has a long history of promoting the trade in blood diamonds. In 2000, it refused to meet with Global Witness, an NGO which works to expose the links between natural resources and human rights abuses, which was instrumental in the setting up of the Kimberley Process. Global Witness reports that Israel was the only country to ever refuse to meet to discuss the UN embargo on trade in conflict goods.
In 2014 Israel's billionaire diamond king, BSG's Beny Steinmetz ("Israel's richest man"), tried to silence Global Witness from exposing his corruption in acquiring diamond mines in Guinea. BSG (Beny Steinmetz Group) was further embroiled in scandal when it was revealed that it directly funded, through its foundation, the notorious Givati Brigade of the Israeli army. The Givati Brigade stands accused of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity by the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The Givati Brigade is responsible for the massacre of the Samouni family in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. On 4th January 2009 the Givati Brigade rounded up 100 members of the Samouni family and ordered them into the house of Wa'el Samouni. The house was then bombed, and rescue services were prevented from approaching for four days, with ambulances being fired on. When rescue workers were finally allowed access, they found buried beneath the rubble, traumatised children besides the corpses of their parents and siblings. The Givati had massacred 29 family members and in case anyone mistook their intent they left a message on one of the remaining walls of the house, daubed in Hebrew it read "The only good Arab is a dead Arab".
The Foundationís website boasted of "adopting" a unit of the Givati brigade, of "fostering close relationships with the commanders and their soldiers", of "buying equipment " for them specifically during Operation Cast Lead, that is, during their slaughter of the Samouni family. All references were however deleted from their website once it came to public attention, and soon after BSG was renamed Diacore.
BSG's (Diacore) blood diamonds are sold on the high street through close partnerships with De Beers's, Tiffany's and Sotherby's Diamonds.
In 2012 the survivors of the Samouni family in a video message asked the Queen to remove De Beer's Jubilee Blood Diamond from display at the Tower of London and for the people of the UK to reject diamonds processed by the Steinmetz Diamond company. This lead to six months of protests outside the Tower of London until the Tower indicated that the diamond was no longer on display.
In 2011 Global Witness, the founding force behind establishing the Kimberley Process, resigned from the Kimberley Process arguing that the Kimberley Process had failed to address "the clear links between diamonds, violence and tyranny.. Nearly nine years after the Kimberley Process was launched, the sad truth is that most consumers still cannot be sure where their diamonds come from, nor whether they are financing armed violence or abusive regimes."
For more information on Israeli Blood Diamonds please see:
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