Valentine's Warning– Do You Know Where Your Diamonds Came From?

13 February 2007
MEPS And Amnesty Unite On Diamond Trade

Romantic Scots are being warned to check those glittering gifts from their loved ones this Valentines Day to make sure they have not been sold to fund conflicts.

Following the release of block buster "Blood Diamond" five Members of the European Parliament, including Scotland's Alyn Smith have joined forces with Amnesty International to call for greater international efforts to improve the transparency of the diamond trade and to stop so called conflict diamonds entering the EU.

The European Union is currently in charge of the international diamond scheme, the Kimberley Process.

Scottish National Party MEP Alyn Smith who along with Amnesty launched the Parliament's declaration said

"It would ruin the romance to know that the ring or necklace you got from your loved one had actually helped to fund conflicts, had been responsible for violations of human rights or had bought a gun for a child soldier.

"I don't want to put too much negativity on what should be a day of romance but it is important we do not forget that not all diamonds are good diamonds.

"Countries like Sierra Leone have been ravaged by wars funded by the trade in illegal diamonds while last year $23 million worth of diamonds were smuggled from rebel areas in the Ivory Coast.

"I, alongside my colleagues and Amnesty International want people to make sure, by asking the jeweller for the right certificates to show where they got the diamonds came from.

"Most jewellers and diamond traders don't support illegal diamonds, but they do make up 1% of the market, and 1% of the diamond market buys a lot of weapons.

"Thinking your diamond might have come from a conflict zone takes the sparkle of it. I hope everyone will take care this Valentine's Day and make sure their romantic gifts truly shine."