MOVING TOWARDS A CLEAN DIAMOND TRADE
HON. SAM FARR
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, November 27, 2001
Mr. FARR of California. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank
Representatives Hall, Wolf and Houghton for putting together this
compromise bill with the Administration. It is important that we enact
legislation to reform the conflict-driving diamond trade, and this is
an important first step.
Mr. Speaker, for years terrorist bands masquerading as political
rebels have been using income from the illicit trade in diamonds to
fund their attacks on civilian populations. The scars that they have
left are deep. They are seen every where on the mangled limbs and faces
of men, women and children on the streets of Monrovia and Freetown.
As appalling as the profiteering of these groups, is the commercial
support that they have received from brokers in the legitimate diamond
trade in what we refer to as the developed world. While some of thee
traders have dealt unknowingly in these blood diamonds, others have
consciously taken advantage of their market position to ``launder''
these tainted goods. There is a clear need to establish a system which
punishes those that are supporting terrorist bands that profit from
diamond trading, and prevent dirty diamonds from entering the market
which make legitimate dealers unwittingly complicit.
The substitute for H.R. 2722 that we have before us is not perfect,
but it is an important first step in creating such a system. Moreover,
passing this bill will send a clear signal to those states, industries
and NGOs participating in the Kimberly Process, that the United States
is serious about Clean Diamonds. I am confident that this bill will
help move the Kimberly agenda forward, and that concrete steps to
implement a verification system will be agreed to by all participating
parties. This, after all, is the key. A verification system will not
work unless it has the support of all those concerned.
I urge my colleagues to support this bill and to continue to work
towards making the diamond industry one that supports trade and
economic development without compromising human rights.