The jewelry and diamond industries continue to butt heads with U.S. Rep. Tony Hall (D-Ohio) and human rights organizations on a bill designed to prevent ‘conflict diamonds’ from entering channels of commerce.
JA sent a message to its members urging them to oppose the ‘Clean Diamond Act’ legislation (H.R. 918) that Hall recently introduced in the House of Representatives. JA is urging its members to support a Senate bill negotiated with the jewelry industry that is expected to be introduced when the Senate reconvenes on April 23.
The message came in response to a campaign begun Feb. 14 by 73 human rights organizations led by Physicians for Human Rights. In an open letter to JA, the organizations are urging diamond and jewelry industry officials to support Hall’s bill. The campaign is lobbying for the support of 50 prominent jewelry stores nationwide and local and national government officials.
JA and the international diamond industry are against Hall’s bill primarily because it requires that all diamonds and diamond jewelry carry a label stating the diamonds’ country of origin. Industry leaders say this requirement will add undue expenses that will ultimately hurt the sale of diamonds.
The message from JA states:
”In the coming weeks and months, you may be asked by human rights organizations to take part in e-mail or letter-writing campaigns in support of the Hall bill. You may be asked to display a sticker or decal in your store or to list your store on a human rights group’s Web site. We ask that you not take part in such activities at this time. While Congressman Hall and our industry agree that conflict diamonds must be eliminated and that passage of legislation is critical to that goal, we disagree on some important provisions of that legislation.’