PRESS RELEASE: November 10, 2004
Rapaport Calls For Establishment of African Digger Cooperatives And Announces Cooperation with U.S. AID and Global Witness to Support Development in Africa
The Rapaport Group firmly supports all efforts to create legitimate diamond markets in Sierra Leone and other West African countries. Such legitimate markets must be based on the principle of honest, transparent and fair trade whereby the local indigenous population receives tangible benefit from their country’s diamond resources. Such markets must be open, fair and competitive whereby all honest stakeholders in the diamond industry have equal opportunity to participate in the region’s diamond development.
Rapaport fully shares the concerns brought forward by NGOs requesting assurances that diamond digging be accomplished in a morally responsible, socially accountable and economically beneficial manner with respect for the human rights of diggers and their communities. We hereby reaffirm that the Rapaport Group will not be party to any diamond purchasing scheme that exploits the local population and/or is not supported by legitimate NGOs.
Rapaport calls upon governments and NGOs to establish and monitor clear, written standards for acceptable digging and buying practices so that we and others may support these standards by helping to establish diggers’ cooperatives and responsible diamond-buying activity. We hope that NGO certification of “fair trade” diamonds from Sierra Leone and other developing countries will be possible in the future.
Rapaport stands ready to provide specific answers to specific questions related to the operational aspects of diamond buying. Such operational considerations include methods of quality control, valuation, buying, payment, shipment and international marketing of rough and polished diamonds.
The Rapaport Group is pleased to announce an agreement in principle with The United States government Agency for International Development (AID) and the NGO Global Witness to support a pilot program for development in Sierra Leone’s diamond sector.
Rapaport will provide seed capital for the establishment of diggers’ cooperatives and purchase the diamonds produced by the cooperatives based on prices set by the Sierra Leone government valuators. The diamonds will be sold in transparent open market tenders with Rapaport profits to be limited to a fixed commission. Tender sales results will be reported back to the diggers and excess profits will be repatriated to the cooperatives.
U.S. AID and the Kono Diamond Peace Alliance will select, support, monitor and coordinate the diggers cooperatives. Global Witness will fully monitor all aspects of the venture, from mining to marketing, to assure that they are being accomplished in a fair and honest manner.
The Rapaport Group thanks the governments of Sierra Leone, and the United States, the NGO Global Witness, the Kono Diamond Peace Alliance, and most importantly, the people and community of the Kono District for their support and cooperation in this effort.
The establishment of this cooperative effort by government, NGOs and industry is of historic proportions, as it breaks new ground in how the international community can and should work together for the betterment of the world. Let us recognize that if we work together there is no limit to what we can achieve.
Millions of people across the globe, in every country and in every society, share the diamond dream. The dream that one day they will receive a diamond from someone they love. The diamond has come to reflect the most noble of aspirations; the establishment of caring and loving relationships. The time has come, here and now, for all of us to work together and share the diamond dream with its source, the people of Africa.
For Additional Information please contact:
Adam Graham Rapaport USA Tel: +1702-893-9400 Email:
Saville Stern Rapaport Israel Tel: +972-3-613-3330 Email: [email protected]
Vinod Kuriyan Rapaport India Tel: +9122-5637-6633 Email:
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PRESS RELEASE: November 10, 2004