BLOOD DIAMONDS: protest against De Beers Forevermark Steinmetz diamond in the Tower of London 24Jun12 June 24, 2012

Press release issued on Saturday 23 June 2012

The UK Royal Family and De Beers’ exclusive Forevermark diamond brand is in danger of being damaged by association with the Steinmetz Company that funds and supports a Unit of the Givati Brigade of the Israeli military. The Givati Brigade was responsible for the massacre of 21 members of the Sammoni family during the Israeli assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008-2009. A UN Human Rights Council investigation concluded that Israeli forces committed serious war crimes and possible crimes against humanity in Gaza.

De Beers have put on display a Forevermark Steinmetz diamond in the Tower of London to mark the occasion of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. The Sammouni family and human rights activists claim the diamond is a blood diamond. The Steinmetz Diamond Company funded and supported the Givati Brigade as it attacked the Sammoni family in Gaza in January 2009.

Helmi Sammouni, speaking on behalf of the surviving members of the Sammoni family issues this appeal to the Queen:
“On behalf of the surviving members of the Sammouni 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.” (Translated from Arabic).

In June, Charles Stanley, Forevermark U.S. president, said consumers “want to know that our diamond is from a responsible source and that they can trust it.” He said De Beers can’t afford to have problems with diamonds. “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”.

Following an initial protest last Sunday at the Tower of London, human rights activists will stage a second protest there on Sunday June 24th at 14:30 calling for the removal of the Forevermark Steinmetz Jubilee Diamond. A spokesperson for the activists, Sean Clinton, said “De Beers should respect the wishes of the Sammouni family and remove the offensive blood diamond. They should extend the Forevermark promise of “responsibly sourced” diamonds and ensure that the companies they use to cut and polish their diamonds are not funding war crimes or crimes against humanity. The promise of a conflict-free diamond shouldn’t end at the mine gate; it should extend along the entire supply pipe from mine to market”. 

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