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Reform Jewish Movement Applauds Congressional Passage of Clean Diamond Trade Act

Weinstein: Every customer has the right to know that there is no blood on diamonds offered for sale, and that their beauty is untarnished by the suffering of innocent victims.
Contact:
Alexis Rice or Becca Nagorsky 202-387-2800

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2003 - Following the passage of the Clean Diamond Trade Act, Barbara Weinstein, Legislative Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, released the following statement:

Last week's Senate and House passage of the Clean Diamond Trade Act (S. 760/H.R. 1584) represents a significant step forward in the fight to eliminate conflict diamonds. We commend Congress on this important achievement. The sale of conflict diamonds, which have been mined by slave laborers who are then victims of rape, massacres and other atrocities, fund the activities of rebel forces in Sierra Leone, Liberia and elsewhere. The Clean Diamond Trade Act implements the Kimberley Certification Scheme in the United States, committing the U.S. to ensuring that imported diamonds have been legitimately mined and traded.

In the next few weeks, when more than 50 countries gather in South Africa to participate in the next Kimberley Process Plenary meeting, the U.S. will be able to concretely demonstrate its commitment to breaking the link between natural resource exploitation and human rights abuses. Already, the Clean Diamond Trade Act is being regarded as a model for other countries seeking to implement similar control systems. However, the Kimberley Process is also a work in progress and it is vital that the Administration commit itself to full implementation and oversight of the Kimberley Certification Scheme

The Reform Jewish Movement remains committed to the complete elimination of conflict diamonds. Jewish tradition teaches that our moral values must govern our business practices, as much as they do our personal lives. The rabbis taught that a man whose wine is mixed with water may sell it in a shop, provided that he informs the buyer that the wine was watered. But the man could not, under any circumstance, sell his watered wine to a wholesale merchant, who might out of greed or indifference, sell it to those who deceive his customers. Similarly, every customer has the right to know that there is no blood on diamonds offered for sale, and that their beauty is untarnished by the suffering of innocent victims. We appreciate Congress's commitment to this cause, call on President Bush to sign this bill into law and encourage all Americans to act as responsible consumers by rejecting conflict diamonds.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) , whose over 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis(CCAR) whose membership includes over 1800 Reform rabbis .



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