URGENT ACTION: IMPORT RESTRICTIONS ON

CONFLICT DIAMONDS

 

PLEASE CONTACT THE FOLLOWING SENATORS and REPRESENTATIVES IMMEDIATELY AND URGE THEM TO SUPPORT REP. TONY HALL’S

REVISED CARAT ACT

 

When Congress reconvenes in September after Labor Day, Representative Tony Hall plans to reintroduce the so-called “Carat Act,” a bill that places import restrictions on diamonds.  We urge everyone concerned about the role of diamonds in fueling cruel conflict in Sierra Leone and Angola to immediately contact the Members of Congress listed below, and urge them to act favorably on the revised “Carat Act” if and when it comes before them.

 

Representative Hall’s revised “Carat Act” contains three provisions that address the problem of conflict diamonds:

 

Title I:  Language implementing the UN embargoes against RUF-controlled Sierra Leonean diamonds and UNITA-controlled Angolan diamonds, as well as well-known transshipment points, including Liberia, Burkina Faso, and Congo.

 

Title II.  This will be an updated version of the “Carat Act,” requiring certificates of origin for every diamond imported by the U.S. over a certain weight, to take effect in 2002.  The Customs Service could delay implementation of this provision if 1) technology did not permit the origin of cut/polished diamonds to be determined; and/or another system was in place to sever diamonds funding link to wars.  (The other system is the Rough Controls regimen, see Title III, below.)

 

Title III.  This title will prohibit the importation of diamonds from any cutting or exporting center that does not have in place “Rough Controls,” which is the system that the industry agreed to in Antwerp. Rough controls would include forgery-proof packaging and computer database, export and import controls and inspection, criminal sanctions against abusers, international inspection of the process, and an international accreditation process for diamond exporters and importers.

 

 

Your letters should include the following:

 

1. I am deeply concerned about the importation of diamonds from Sierra Leone and Angola that has enriched rebel groups that commit gross abuses against unarmed people.  I strongly favor import controls so that American consumers, who buy 65% of diamond jewelry sold internationally, do not unwittingly help these insurgent forces.

 

2. It is my understanding that legislation to require some form of labeling on diamonds imported by the U.S. will be considered by the Congress this fall.  I urge you to favorably support legislation that requires either a country-of-origin certificate or an assurance of diamond industry controls on the handling of rough stones.

3. I strongly favor an American boycott of diamonds imported from rebel-controlled Angola and Sierra Leone, and from countries which launder diamonds from these conflict zones, namely Liberia, Burkina Faso and Congo.

 

4. Urge your Senator or Representative to take action and support the revised “Carat Act.”  Ask that your elected official contact you and let you know of his/her positions.

 

 

Contact the following Representatives:

 

Florida                                                                         Illinois

The Honorable Rep. Young                                          The Honorable Rep. Crane

United States House of Representatives                        United States House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515                                                Washington, DC 20515

202/225-5961                                                              202/225-3711

 

Michigan                                                                      Minnesota

The Honorable Rep. Levin                                            The Honorable Rep. Ramstad

United States House of Representatives                        United States House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515                                                Washington, DC 20515

202/225-4961                                                              202/225-2871

 

New York                                                                    Texas

The Honorable Rep. Rangel                                          The Honorable Rep. Archer

United States House of Representatives                        United States House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515                                                Washington, DC 20515

202/225-4365                                                              202/225-2571

 

West Virginia                                                                Wisconsin

The Honorable Rep. Byrd                                             The Honorable Rep. Obey

United States House of Representatives                        United States House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515                                                Washington, DC 20515

202/224-3954                                                              202/225-3365

 

Please write the following Senators:

 

Alaska                                                                          Delaware

The Honorable Senator  Stevens                                   The Honorable Senator Roth

US Senate                                                                    US Senate

Washington, DC 20510                                                Washington, DC 20510

202/224-3004                                                              202/224-2441

 

New York                                                                    Vermont

Senator Moynihan                                                        Senator Jeffords

US Senate                                                                    US Senate

Washington, DC 20510                                                Washington, DC 20510

202/224-4451                                                              202/224-5141

 

For more Information: Contact Gina Cummings [email protected]

 or Kristina Hare Lyons [email protected]  /PHR at 617-695-0041 August 9, 2000