U.S. aid official urges jewelers to take a role in the ‘conflict diamonds’ issue

Jewelers can make a difference in bringing peace to Sierra Leone and other Africa countries suffering from problems caused by ‘conflict diamonds,’ Sylvia A. Fletcher, a senior advisor to the U.S. Agency for International Development, told a luncheon sponsored by the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC).

”It is you who must insist, until we have all achieved it, that there is a worldwide, operational, and adequate system for certifying the origin of rough diamonds, so that consumers of jewelry and gems may have confidence that they are not indirectly aiding insurgence,” she says. ”It is you who can identify suspected smuggling and insist on high standards of ethics and integrity in the global diamond market.”

She notes that, in the global economy, businesspeople have to care about things they never cared about before. ”Consumers in rich countries for decades, maybe for centuries, have been consuming goods that are the product of exploitative means of production, sometimes even slavery, crime, and piracy,” she says. ”But globalization has made us acutely aware of where and how our business chains operate, from the primary source, through its stages of transformation to the final retailer and consumer.”

”There is, as well, an emerging doctrine of global humanitarianism,” she says. ”Those inalienable rights, those truths that we hold to be self-evident in our democracy, we have come to understand are inalienable human and civil rights for all people, in all countries. Political and humanitarian globalism is the assertion of a set of uniform, fundamental inalienable human and civil rights for all people, in all countries; and globalization is the reality that our destinies and our markets are inextricably inter-related.”

She noted that Sierra Leone authorities have identified some questionable stones in the last two months-and hoped those efforts would continue.