Starting Date: 02-05-2007
Starting Time: 12:00pm
New York Hilton
1335 6th Ave. (at W. 54th)
New York, New York 10019
215-387-0919On February 5th at noon, human rights activists will hold a demonstration at the New York City Hilton Hotel (1335 Avenue of the Americas at W. 54th) where the 4th Annual Rapaport International Diamond Conference will take place.
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!”
Geographical Scope: Metro