Martin Rapaport, Chairman of the Rapaport Group, has completed a three-day fast held outside the Kimberley Process (KP) meetings. The water-only fast began at sundown on Sunday, June 20 and continued until sundown on Wednesday, June 24.
Rapaport was fasting to protest the issuance of KP Certificates for blood diamonds and to draw attention to the fact that it is unethical for the diamond and jewelry trade to rely upon the KP Certification Scheme (KPCS) or System of Warranties to ensure that diamonds are not involved in severe human rights violations, such as murder, mutilation, rape and forced servitude.
Martin Rapaport’s statement:
“The KP is aiding and abetting severe human rights violations as it certifies, legalizes and legitimizes blood diamonds. Corrupt governments have turned the KP on its head. Instead of eliminating human rights violations, the KP is legitimizing them.
“The diamond trade and consumers cannot trust the KP, its System of Warranties or those that promote the KP as an assurance of the legitimate source of diamonds. We must face the fact that the KP is a politicized, government-controlled initiative that is incapable of eliminating human rights violations in the diamond sector. It’s time for the World Diamond Council (WDC) and responsible NGOs to withdraw from the KP.
“The solution is outside the KP. The diamond trade must take full responsibility for how and where it buys its diamonds. It must stop hiding behind the KP and recognize that it has moral and ethical obligations that transcend national and international laws. While governments cannot enforce international human rights standards due to sovereignty issues, diamond traders can use their purchasing power to enforce such standards. The key to understanding this issue is that, in the end, our diamonds are only as good as we are.”
Comments and messages for Martin Rapaport can be sent to Martin @ Rapaport.com.
For additional information about this issue, visit www.diamonds.net/zimbabwe.