BJA reacts to Panorama’s Mugabe’s Blood Diamonds

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Simon Rainer says BJA is in full support of the Kimberley Process.

The British Jeweller’s Association (BJA) has reacted to the airing of last night’s Panorama Mugabe’s Blood Diamonds, with its chief executive Simon Rainer stating the BJA is in full support of the Kimberley Process.

The BJA, which represents the majority of companies involved in the UK jewellery supply industry, released details this morning after Panorama aired an undercover report focused on torture and killings occurring in the Marange diamond fields. While the industry remains split about the selling of diamonds from Marange, the program said it wanted to “ask if President Robert Mugabe will ever face prosecution for these crimes.”

In a statement from the BJA, Rainer said: “The Kimberley Process (KP) has the full support of the BJA in being an international certification scheme to certify exports of rough diamonds that are conflict-free. The BJA is fully committed to the responsible sourcing of diamonds.

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“At all times, the BJA diligently strives to represent the views of our membership. In the case of Marange diamonds, we are faced with a situation where the current effectiveness of the KP process is in question. This is borne out by the efforts of the UK, US and other nations planning separate but co-ordinated efforts to get the KP to ban imports of diamonds from Marange.

"A selection of like-minded governments led the opposition to the lifting of the KP ban on Marange diamonds in June 2010 and most recently in March 2011. As a result of a pronouncement by the KP Chairperson, the US and EU issued a warning to diamond companies to not buy the rough stones from Zimbabwe.”

Jewellery suppliers in the UK should comply with the diktat which says that rough parcels received by suppliers conform to the KP. Rainer said: “Given the current uncertainty surrounding KP, UK jewellers are advised to instruct their suppliers that they do not want to receive Marange stones.”

Presently, Kimberley Process participants are working to resolve the uncertainty surrounding the KP status of Marange diamonds. Rainer expressed that the BJA hopes for a positive outcome in resolving the issues around the KP and remains dedicated to support its members to ensure due diligence is met in the disclosure of rough diamond supplies entering the UK market.

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