RAPAPORT… Christian organization World Vision, which is dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities to end poverty, weighed-in on the Warner Bros.’ Blood Diamond film.
Rory Anderson, World Vision’s senior policy advisor for Africa and expert on the illegal diamond trade praised the movie as “gripping, compelling, and accurate.”
The movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, and Jennifer Connelly, traces a fictional story of a South Africa diamond smuggler, a journalist from the United States, and a Sierra Leone fisherman whose lives collide against the backdrop of Sierra Leone’s diamond-funded civil war in the late 1990s. The war officially ended in 2002.
“The film’s relevance goes beyond the individual situation of Sierra Leone,” said Anderson.
“It illustrates the incredible devastation the illegal diamond trade has caused — and continues to cause — elsewhere in Africa.”
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the organization contends, approximately 1,000 people die every day, as a result of an eight-year conflict that is fueled, in part, by diamond smuggling and the resulting weapons trafficking.
“More than 60 percent of the diamonds on the global market are purchased in the United States,” said Anderson. “As a result, Americans can play a powerful role demanding regulation and certification to ensure that these ‘conflict diamonds’ don’t end up in our jewelry stores.”
Anderson said that boycotting diamonds isn’t the answer.
“Legitimately traded diamonds, particularly in countries like South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia, are being used to fund health care, education and other vital services,” said Anderson. “We can’t punish countries using diamonds to help their people for the crimes committed by rebel groups and others exploiting resources elsewhere.”
Before buying diamonds, Anderson tells consumers to ask retailers for their policies on conflict diamonds and for certification that their diamonds were mined and sold legitimately.