JCK's Rob Bates reports on his interview from JCK Las Vegas with vice president of Russian diamond producer Alrosa, Andrey Polyakov, who recently took over the leadership of the World Diamond Council (WDC). The main talking points are, "whether the KP will ever include human rights language and just what Alrosa thinks about synthetics", as well as the ongoing dispute between current KP chair United Arab Emirates and the civil society coalition. Concerning the latter, Polyakov said, "Both the NGOs and the KP chair are doing a great job.
The Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), an organization dedicated to improving the working conditions and lives of artisanal diamond miners, is announcing the launch of the Maendeleo Diamond Standards (MDS), the organization anounced today in a press release. Maendeleo, the Swahili word for development and progress, is a fitting designation for standards that will ensure respect for human rights, for the environment and for community well-being, according to Dorothée Gizenga, Executive Director.
Amnesty International Portugal has delivered a petition to the Angolan embassy in Lisbon with the signatures of almost 40,000 people calling on Angola to give “all the guarantees of a fair trial” to Angolan activist and journalist Rafael Marques. Rafael Marques was sentenced in May 2015 to six years in prison, suspended for two years, for slandering 12 people including members of the Angolan armed forces, following the publication of his book Blood Diamonds – Corruption and Torture in Angola) in 2011.
Amnesty International has published a new report, together with Afrewatch (Africa Resources Watch): “This is What We Die For: Human Rights Abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Power the Global Trade in Cobalt”, traces the sale of cobalt used in lithium-ion batteries from mines where children as young as seven and adults work in perilous conditions. It claims that major electronics brands, including Apple, Samsung and Sony, are failing to do basic checks to ensure that cobalt mined by child laborers has not been used in their products.
From Devex Impact: The mining industry is often affiliated with large-scale operations and massive capital investments, but small scale miners form the bulk of the sector. Artisanal miners — mainly in developing countries — number approximately 100 million worldwide. This year marks five years since the passage of the controversial Dodd-Frank Act (D-F). It was intended to boost transparency and crack down on the number of conflict minerals whose proceeds have fueled conflict in the region. It has achieved measurable results.
Spanish authorities have arrested Michel Desaedeleer, who has US and Belgian citizenship, on charges of enslavement and diamond pillaging during Sierra Leone’s civil war, according to Swiss-based victims’ association Civitas Maxima. Desaedeleer is suspected of forcing enslaved civilians to mine for diamonds in Sierra Leone’s eastern district of Kono between 1999 and 2001. A Belgian investigation led to a European arrest warrant being issued against Desaedeleer, who normally lives in America, earlier this year.
Angola is an example of leadership in diamond mining activity, says the United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Steven Feldstein, who cites the country's example in safe extraction processes.
In a report entitled "Fatal Extraction: Australian Mining's Damaging Push Into Africa", the International Consortium of Investigative Journalist (ICIJ) says since the beginning of 2004, more than 380 people have died in mining accidents or in off-site skirmishes connected to Australian publicly-traded mining companies in 13 countries in Africa. ICIJ targets Australian companies, saying they are more numerous than those from other mining giants such as Canada, the United Kingdom and China.
Billionaire TV mogul, known for her charitable deeds, Oprah Winfrey has been criticized for wearing diamond billionaire Lev Leviev’s diamonds on the cover of O magazine. Born in Uzbekistan, Leviev is now an Israeli citizen who, according to Forbes, is worth more than $1 billion. In a press release, several human rights groups said Winfrey should distance herself from Leviev because of his companies’ poor human rights record in Palestine and Angola.
The 'Country Reports on Human Rights Practices', tracking human rights violations in all nations for the purpose of guiding foreign policy decisions, says forced child labor and abuse and violence against women were the most common human rights violations related to diamond mining in 2014. Countries cited included Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic Congo, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
JCK reports "Reporters Without Borders" has posted Angolan journalist Rafael Marques de Morais' book, "Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola", as a statement "to show censorship is never a solution." Last Thursday, Marques was given a six-month suspended sentence following a trial for criminal defamation over his 2011 book.
According to news site The News Daily, Angolan prosecutors on Monday sought a suspended one-month jail sentence for anti-corruption activist Rafael Marques despite a deal to drop defamation charges against him, his lawyer said. Prosecutors made the request during final arguments in the trial of Marques, who was accused of defaming several generals in a 2011 book about violence and rights violations linked to Angola's lucrative diamond mining industry. The request for a suspended sentence came as a surprise to lawyers after the generals last week agreed to drop
Forbes correspondent Kerry Dolan reports on the trial against Rafael Marques de Morais, charged with criminal defamation by several Angolan military generals, that started last week. In his 2011 book, Marques wrote that the generals had orchestrated torture and killings in Angola's diamond-mining region.
Rafael Marques de Morais, the Angolan journalist who accused generals of human rights abuses in the illicit diamond trade faces libel charges in court today in a case that is putting the spotlight on a major African diamond producer keen to improve its reputation abroad."There is only one outcome that would serve justice and that is to send me home in peace," says Marques de Morais, who has won international awards for his human rights activism. Rafael Marques de Morais' 2012 book "Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola" detailed more than 100 alleged killings and torture of civil
Rafael Marques de Morais, who wrote about brutality and human rights abuses in the country’s diamond mines, is standing trial. A co-recipient of the 2015 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expressions in Journalism award, of found guilty he could be sent to jail for up to nine years and receive a $1.2 million fine.
More than 75% of RJC members, 400 out of 532, are now Certified Members under the RJC Code of Practice, which means they have achieved high standards in terms of ethical and responsible business practices.
Street protests across the city have affected four of Hong Kong’s top shopping districts. Although many retailers, including Prada and Cartier outlets stayed open, some shops have closed their doors. Sales of luxury goods, cosmetic products, and consumer durables are said to have been affected.
What is the potential long-term economic and business impact of the massive protests sweeping Hong Kong? A number of investment analysts have issued reports on the issue in recent days.
Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters blocked several areas of Hong Kong, maintaining pressure on China as it faces one of its biggest political challenges since the Tiananmen Square crackdown 25 years ago.