The Ethically Gray Territory of Botswana Diamonds - Marc Choyt

Marc Choyt is Founding Director of Fair Jewelry Action USA,, an environmental justice and human rights organization.  
Jun 10, 2011 2:54 PM ET
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The Ethically Gray Territory of Botswana Diamonds

Last April, Survival International called for a boycott of Botswana diamonds, targeting  De Beers’ stores.  Yet, De Beer’s efforts in Botswana have been widely admired.   In fact, for those in the jewelry sector, Botswana diamonds have been viewed as an excellent example of beneficiation.  As an ethical jeweler and activist, what to do and who to believe comes down to values.

Diamonds are not that rare.  Most countries export their diamonds to cutting centers in India, Israel and Antwerp.  However, diamonds mined in Botswana by De Beers are polished there, providing a jobs and an overall economic boost at a more grassroots level.  DeBeers’ mines are also multiparty certified for environmental responsibility.  No wonder that Botswana government has called Survival International’s Campaign propaganda.

Much of the objection in Botswana has been focused around the actions of Graff Diamonds and the indigenous Bushmen.  De Beers sold the concession located on the Bushman’s land to Graff in May of 2007. Though the Bushmen’s perspective (I Want To Go Home) and the documentation provided by Survival International gives plenty of reason for outrage, is De Beers, perhaps, too easy a target? 

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