15 June 2018, International Joint Press Release
Human Rights Campaigners say Kimberley Process Must Suspend Israel and Ban Israeli Diamonds Exports.
A global coalition of organisations working for justice and peace in Palestine have called on the EU to seek the suspension of Israel from the Kimberley Process and a ban on Israel diamond exports at next week’s meeting in Antwerp.
In the wake of the latest Israeli massacres in Gaza which Human Rights Watch say “may amount to war crimes” and called on the international community to “impose real costs for such blatant disregard for Palestinian lives” it is imperative that diamonds which generate revenue used to fund the Israeli military are banned.
For Information contact: Sean Clinton, Ireland, 353-872725300
A call for urgent action to end the trade in diamonds that fund gross human rights violations by Israel
Israel is the biggest net beneficiary of the global diamond trade with exports worth US$11 billion net in 2014 when diamonds accounted for 30% of manufacturing exports.
Revenue from the Israeli diamond industry is a highly significant source of funding for the Israeli government and its violent settler colonial project in Palestine.
Despite generating an estimated $1 billion per year in funding for Israeli occupation forces which stand accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, the proliferation of unregulated nuclear weapons and the enforcement of a system of apartheid that discriminates against non-Jews jewellers claim diamonds processed in Israel are conflict free.
Diamonds that are a significant source of funding for violations of international humanitarian law or international human rights law are regarded as blood diamonds.
The jewellery industry refuses to ban all blood diamonds and limited the remit of the international diamond regulatory body known as the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme to “conflict diamonds” which are defined as rough diamonds used by rebel groups to fund violence against legitimate governments.
Other blood diamonds that fund rogue regimes guilty of grievous human rights violations evade regulation and legally contaminate the market where they account for 20% of the market share in value terms and are sold to unsuspecting consumers labelled conflict free.
In 2018 the EU chairs the Kimberley Process which will meet in Antwerp June 18-21, 2018, and in Brussels in November.
Conscious of the fact that the narrow definition of a “conflict diamond” in the Kimberley Process regulations facilitates a multi-billion dollar trade in diamonds that are a significant source of funding for rogue regimes guilty of grievous human rights violations;
Aware that Israel, a major player in the global diamond industry, uses revenue from the diamond industry to fund its military which enforces a belligerent, illegal occupation of Palestinian and Syrian territories and stands accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, the crime of apartheid and the proliferation of unregulated nuclear weapons;
Mindful of the EU's commitment to uphold human rights in all of its dealings and of the binding requirements in respect to human rights enshrined in Agreements with third parties in particular Article 2 of the Euromed Agreement with Israel;
Recalling the EU Commission’s commitment to promote the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) due diligence guidelines for responsible mineral supply chains which require companies to account for their human rights impacts along their entire supply chain and not just in the mining sector and aware that this is critical for “responsible sourcing”;
Aware also of the necessity for the jewellery industry to end the trade in diamonds linked to human rights violations and of the threat to the legitimate diamond trade and the millions of people around the world who rely on it for their livelihoods;
Finally, in consideration of the desperate plight of Palestinians living under the cosh of a brutal apartheid regime with no physical or legal protection, dispossessed of their lands, property, livelihoods and in view of Israel’s incessant gross violation of the rights of Palestinian men, women and children and flagrant violations of the norms by which civilised societies have agreed to adhere as enshrined in international treaties and laws we the undersigned call upon
- the EU chair of the Kimberley Process 2018, Hilde Hardeman, to seek the immediate suspension of Israel from the Kimberley Process until such time as a full, independent and transparent investigation of the actions of Israeli forces in Gaza between March 30th 2018 and May 31st May 2018 is completed and appropriate measures are taken to bring to justice all those responsible for the massacres which occurred and as far as possible remediate the injustices perpetrated against innocent victims and their families.
- the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, non-governmental organisations active in promoting responsible mineral supply chains including Global Witness, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Impact Transform and representative organisations of the global jewellery industry at national level and international level, in particular, the World Diamond Council to voice their support for Israel’s suspension from the Kimberley Process and a complete embargo on the trade in diamonds from Israel until it can be shown that the Israeli government is not using revenue from the diamond industry to fund grievous human rights violations.
- Jews Against the Occupation (Australia)
- Australians for Palestine (Australia)
- Australian Friends of Palestine Association (Australia)
- Women for Palestine (Australia)
- Coalition for Peace and Justice in Palestine (Australia)
- De stichting Diensten Onderzoek Centrum Palestina (Netherlands)
- Sadaka, The Ireland Palestine Alliance (Ireland)
- Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (Ireland)
- Donegal Awareness for Palestine (Ireland)
- Leitrim Action for Palestine (Ireland)
- Monaghan Palestine Awareness Campaign (Ireland)
- European Coordinating Committee on Palestine
- Gibanje za pravice Palestincev (Slovenia)
- Gruppo Ibriq per la cultura e la causa Palestinese (Slovenia)
- Salaam ragazzi dell'olivo - comitato di Trieste (Slovenia)
- Finnish-Arab Friendship Society (Finland)
- Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions - Finland Chapter (Finland)
- Palestine Solidarity Campaign UK (UK)
- Others to follow.
Notes for Editors
June 2018 – Human Rights Watch, Israel: Apparent War Crimes in Gaza https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/06/13/israel-apparent-war-crimes-gaza
June 2018 – Human Rights Watch, EU Should Push to Protect Rights in Diamond Trade https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/06/13/eu-should-push-protect-rights-diamond-trade
May 2018 – Palestine Chronicle - Special Report: Israel’s Blood Diamonds: Watchdogs Turn a Blind Eye http://www.palestinechronicle.com/israels-blood-diamonds-watchdogs-turn-blind-eye/
Israel trade statistics can be found here - https://tradecompetitivenessmap.intracen.org/TP_EP_CI.aspx
Oct. 2015 - President of Israeli Diamond Exchange blocks WDC reform 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". (This article was taken down but a screenshot is available on request) http://www.en.isde.co.il/article.aspx?id=29402
Dec. 2016 - Global Research – Sean Clinton - Blood Diamonds: More than One Fifth of Diamonds Sold Worldwide are Funding Bloodshed and Violence https://www.globalresearch.ca/blood-diamonds-more-than-one-fifth-of-diamonds-sold-worldwide-are-funding-bloodshed-and-violence/5561214
June 2013 – South African Civil Society Coalition call for Israel to be excluded from KPS http://mediareviewnet.com/2013/06/press-statement-south-african-officials-must-reject-israeli-blood-diamonds-and-secure-jobs-in-diamond-beneficiation/
Dec 2011 - Global Witness leaves Kimberley Process, calls for diamond trade to be held accountable - "Most consumers still cannot be sure where their diamonds come from, nor whether they are financing armed violence or abusive regimes." http://www.globalwitness.org/library/global-witness-leaves-kimberley-process-calls-diamond-trade-be-held-accountable
Amnesty International - “Impunity continued for war crimes committed by Israeli forces during Operation “Cast Lead” in 2008-2009, and there were no indications that independent investigations would be conducted into violations committed during the November 2012 Gaza-Israel conflict.” http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories/report-2013
Human Rights Watch – “Official statements that reflect the military having adopted an unlawful basis for attacks are evidence of war crimes because they show intent.” http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/12/20/israelgaza-unlawful-israeli-attacks-palestinian-media
B'Tselem report into human rights violations during Operation Pillar Of Defense 14-21 November 2012 http://www.btselem.org/download/201305_pillar_of_defense_operation_eng.pdf
UNHRC - “The Mission finds that the conduct of the Israeli armed forces constitutes grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of wilful killings and wilfully causing great suffering to protected persons and, as such, give rise to individual criminal responsibility. It also finds that the direct targeting and arbitrary killing of Palestinian civilians is a violation of the right to life.” 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
Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition - Brussels Communiqué calling of the inclusion of the cutting and polishing industry in the Kimberley Process http://www.pacweb.org/Documents/Press_releases/2011/KP_CSC_Brussels_Communique_Dec2011-Engl.pdf
Israeli political economist, Shir Hever, “Every time somebody buys a diamond that was exported from Israel some of that money ends up in the Israeli military, so the financial connection is quite clear. Overall the Israeli diamond industry contributes about $1 billion annually to the Israeli military and security industries.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q76ktVtvgVg
Amnesty International - “Israeli forces killed hundreds of unarmed Palestinian civilians and destroyed thousands of homes in Gaza in attacks which breached the laws of war, Amnesty International concluded” - http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/impunity-war-crimes-gaza-southern-israel-recipe-further-civilian-suffering-2009070
16 JUN 2018 - EU urged to end trade in Israel diamonds, Middle East Monitor
16 JUN 2018 - Blood Diamonds: Human Rights Campaigners Want ‘Kimberley Process’ to Suspend Israel, Palestine Chronicle