Press Release / July 19, 2000

Joint Press Statement by Civil Society Organisations

Wednesday 19 July 2000

Joint Press Statement by Civil Society Organisations

Following the World Diamond Congress, 17-19 July 2000

1) The civil society organisations present at the Antwerp 2000 World Diamond Congress are very pleased with the outcome of the conference and the proposals for reform made by IDMA and WFDB. These proposals will go a long way to meeting many of the concerns about conflict diamonds that have been expressed by NGOs in Europe, North America and Africa.

2) Still, there remains much to be done:
- The implementation of the reforms and monitoring of the process by the signatories (IDMA and WFDB). It will be important that there be definitive progress on the establishment of working mechanisms by mid September.
- Beyond the industry, the governmental process to establish on international certification progress and a system for independent monitoring of the international flow of diamonds has yet to be agreed. This too will have to be implemented and monitored.
- Experienced civil society organisations with the necessary expertise need to be involved at a working level in both processes in order to ensure the transparency and credibility thereof.

3) We are deeply concerned about the continuation of the war in Sierra Leone, the well known Liberian connection and the transfer of diamonds and weapons between the RUF and Liberia. We urge the diamond industry to take immediate and emergency action to restrict any diamonds flowing from RUF controlled areas through Liberia and elsewhere.

4) The industry should also make representation at the highest levels of the UN and national governments in order to halt the traffic in weapons used to violate human rights, and the resources used to purchase them.

5) We would like to continue the constructive dialogue with the industry on the issue of conflict diamonds.

Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA)
Amnesty International
Fatal Transactions
Global Witness
Netherlands Institute for Southern Africa (NIZA)
Partnership Africa Canada (PAC)
Physicians for Humans Rights (PHR)
World Vision (PHR and World Vision represent a coalition of more than 60 US NGOs)