A group of Anglo-American shareholders published a detailed report on Sunday, exposing the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)-UK for refusing to investigate DeBeers’ claim that its diamonds are ‘conflict free’.
The report, a copy of which was sent to The Palestine Chronicle, highlights a number of apparent anomalies and contradictions in the manner in which the complaint was handled and the decisions reached by the ASA.
Call out corporations like Anglo American (De Beers) that fund and support the criminal apartheid regime. De Beers and Forevermark diamonds that fund war crimes and crimes against humanity are blood diamonds – and their shareholders know it. #HumanRights #Supplychain #CSR #BDS pic.twitter.com/cCjeQsXwdl
— Wardiamonds (@wardiamonds) May 10, 2021
In June 2020, Shareholders Against Blood Diamonds (SABD) lodged a complaint to the advertisement watchdog, which challenged the veracity of advertisements by DeBeers and Forevermark regarding their ‘conflict-free’ label.
The ‘conflict-free’ label was introduced by the so-called Kimberley Process regulations in 2003, following growing concern about the human rights violations associated with the diamond trade.
The KP regulations, however, have been repeatedly criticized by rights groups for failing to ban all blood diamonds. For example, in a report published in 2018, Amnesty International denounced the fact that the diamond industry “has persistently failed to take meaningful measures to clean up the diamond trade”.
— Andrew Feinstein (@andrewfeinstein) October 14, 2021
In October 2021, after 15 months of deliberation, the ASA refused to formally investigate the SABD’s complaint.
“What we didn’t expect was that the ASA would abandon their own rules and procedures with the result that De Beers didn’t have to provide evidence to substantiate their ‘conflict free’ claims because the ASA refused to formally investigate the comprehensive, fully referenced, evidence-based complaint,” SABD stated in its report.
It added, “the complaint provides evidence showing how companies in De Beers supply chain directly and indirectly fund the Israeli apartheid regime and its military.”
According to the group, “the diamond industry has significant influence with decision-makers in Israel”.
Consequently, the SABD called for the Anglo American (AA) corporation – which owns De Beers Group – to “publish the evidence that De Beers must hold to substantiate the company’s ‘conflict-free’ claims”.
Palestine: Amnesty International Calls Israel ‘An Apartheid State https://t.co/dEKFCNnVGJ
— diamond in the dirt🀄️ (@thegreatkhafid) February 2, 2022
It also called on the AA “to carry out independent due diligence of De Beers diamond supply chain”, to quantify the extent of revenue streams accruing directly and indirectly to the government and military in Israel and report the finding to shareholders during the 2022 AA AGM.
Finally, the group urged the corporation “to divest from the companies in their supply chain that generate revenue used to fund the Israel government and/or its military which is guilty of apartheid and other grave human rights violations”.
“As Valentine’s Day approaches,” the report concluded, “those seeking to provide a loved one with a symbol of their love should be mindful of the bloodshed and violence that continues to be funded by so-called ‘conflict-free’ diamonds.”
(The Palestine Chronicle)