Joint Statement of WDC and NGO Steering Committee

The World Diamond Council and the non-governmental community represented by Physicians for Human Rights, Amnesty International, OxfamAmerica, World Vision, World Relief and the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism support the Clean Diamonds Act being introduced today in the Senate. This legislation will create a system to prohibit the U.S. import of conflict diamonds and impose serious penalties on those who trade in them.

Our collaboration represents the shared commitment of the NGO community and the diamond industry to work together to secure passage of this legislation sponsored by Senators Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Michael DeWine, R-Ohio. We thank the Senators for introducing this bill, which accommodates the concerns of both the diamond industry and the NGO community. We also wish to thank Reps. Tony Hall, D-Ohio, and Frank Wolf, R-Va., for their commitment to ending the conflict diamond trade.

We are determined to work together to secure rapid enactment of this legislation, which represents the best efforts of the NGO community and diamond industry to develop a workable system for keeping conflict stones out of the United States.

The conditions placed on the importation of diamonds and diamond jewelry in the legislation are designed to support and encourage the work of the 38 countries that are part of the Kimberley Process, which is developing an international system to stop trade in conflict diamonds. The standards being developed by participants in the Kimberley Process, which includes governments, NGOs and the diamond industry, are expected to be presented in final form to the United Nations General Assembly by the end of this year.

Passage of this legislation also will enhance the confidence of U.S. jewelers and consumers that American purchases of diamonds and diamond jewelry are not unwittingly benefiting abusive insurgencies in Africa.

We collectively call upon the U.S. Congress to pass the Clean Diamonds Act in this session of Congress and urge President Bush to sign it into law.