Letter hand delivered to De Beers:
De Beers Diamond Company
Forevermark diamonds fund war-crimes
The Jubilee Diamond (Samouni Blood Diamond) on display in the Tower of London is a blood diamond. It was crafted by Steinmetz, a company that funds and supports a Unit of the Givati Brigade of the Israeli military and did so during the Israeli assault on Gaza (Operation Cast Lead) in the winter of 2008/2009.
The Givati Brigade was responsible for one of the most despicable examples of gross human rights violations documented by human rights organisations and the UN Human Rights Council during the three week assault that resulted in the death of over 1,400 people including more than 300 children.
The Givati Brigade was directly responsible for killing 29 members of the Samouni family when they bombed a compound in which they had detained over 100 members of the family. 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 on the people of Gaza.
The Samouni family issued a video appeal to Queen Elizabeth II asking for the “offensive blood diamond” to be removed.
De Beers should respect the wishes of the surviving members of the Samouni family and remove the offensive blood diamond from the Tower of London.
De Beers should withdraw Forevermark diamonds from the market until they can guarantee that none of the companies involved in at any stage in the production and sale of the diamonds are generating revenue used to fund gross human rights violations.
De Beers should end their relationship with the Israeli diamond industry which is a major source of revenue for the Israeli military regime that stands accused of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.
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.”
3. Steinmetz Foundation Website – http://www.steinmetz-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