//Human Rights Activists Protest International Diamond Convention in New York

Human Rights Activists Protest International Diamond Convention in New York

"All Diamonds Are Blood Diamonds!" – Day of Action

What: Press Conference and Demonstration
Where: New York Hilton, 1335 Avenue of the Arts at W. 54th
(Plaza at 1301 6th Ave.), New York
When: Monday, February 5, 2007, noon

What: Forum
Where: Church of the Village, 201 W. 13th Street (at 7th Avenue)
When: Monday February 5, 2007, 7:00 p.m.

Contact: African People's Solidarity Committee, Rob Notowitz, 857-233-7504

On February 5th, human rights activists will hold a demonstration at the New York City Hilton Hotel where the 4th Annual Rapaport International Diamond Conference will take place. The diamond is on the defensive.

Organizers of the planned protest reject the diamond industry's recent publicity campaign promoting the extraction and sale of "non-conflict" diamonds as beneficial to indigenous and African communities.

Critics of the industry point to Botswana, the largest supplier of uncut diamonds in the world, where a fourth of the population lives on less than a dollar a day. A third of the people of are undernourished and the life expectancy is 36 years. Botswana has the second largest per capita AIDS rate on the planet, with nearly a quarter of the people infected. Similar conditions persist throughout the diamond-producing regions of the world.

The World Diamond Council admits that $8.4 billion in rough diamonds are extracted from Africa each year. This amount multiplies as the diamonds are refined and sold, traveling from Africa to Antwerp to Israel and the U.S., enriching white communities along the way.

Protest organizer Robert Notowitz of the African People's Solidarity Committee declares, "We have the responsibility to shut down an industry that ravages the land and labor of Africa to benefit the white world. For white society, the diamond is promoted to represent the ultimate expression of love. For Africa, the diamond trade has its origins in colonialism, with African people forced to labor on their own land under slave-like conditions for pennies a day. All diamonds are blood diamonds!"

Later in the evening of February 5th, a forum will be held at the Church of the Village, with speakers from the Uhuru (African Freedom) Movement, including Diop Olugbala, organizer of the Sean Bell Justice Tribunal, and Penny Hess, author of Overturning the Culture of Violence. Physicist Aisha Fields will discuss the Uhuru Movement's clean water and sustainable electricity projects in Africa. The Church of the Village is located at 201 W. 13th Street in the West Village.

For more information and the truth about diamonds, visit www.boycottdiamonds.net, email [email protected] or call (215) 387-0919.