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August 2011 Monthly Subscribers Newsletter

Ecologist

16th August, 2011

This month's newsletter looks at the return of the trade in blood diamonds and includes a special focus on sport and the environment

Our disturbing and timely news report, 'Export of Zimbabwean diamonds threatens ethical jewellery trade' - which you can read here in case you missed it online - highlights a number of issues that should be of concern to us all.

It should be deeply troubling that diamonds, so closely associated with love and marriage, have once again been linked to gross human rights abuses in a country producing the luxury stones. This time it's Zimbabwe, and the abuses are serious - including allegations of rape, child labour, and mass killings in the Marange diamond fields situated near the Mozambique border.

This isn't supposed to happen anymore: following the global outcry after the hidden cost of 'blood diamonds' was first revealed more than a decade ago, much has been done at every level - from extraction through to manufacture and retail - by industry, governments, civil society and the jewellery sector itself to try and clean up the stones' tarnished image.

A dedicated body, known as the Kimberley Process (KP), was created to govern the diamond sector and ensure it remained free of abuses within its (notoriously complex) supply chain. But the body is now at war with itself over controversial plans to allow the export and sale of Zimbabwean diamonds onto the global marketplace.

If consumers feel there's no longer a viable, ethical, option available, what are they going to do? Give that diamond ring a miss? Or buy a standard stone and hope they're engagement is not tarnished by killings, rape or child labour?

Andrew Wasley, Editor

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