Category Archives: Burma

Burmese gem trade also bad for the environment

It’s well documented that gemstones from Burma are fueling violent conflict in Kachin state and funding a variety of questionable entities. In addition to these reports from Kachin, hundreds of residents in Mogok, the main ruby producing area in Burma, are protesting plans by the Mogok Gems Traders Association to build a new headquarters and possibly a gemstone […]

Burma Sanctions Renewed

On Thursday, President Obama renewed US sanctions against Burma, citing “ongoing conflict and human rights abuses in ethnic minority areas, particularly in Rakhine State, and the continued role of the military in the country’s political and economic activities,” in his letter to Congress. As we’ve mentioned time and time again, Burma’s military maintains an active […]

White House says Burma Gem Ban to Remain

Today, President Obama re-stated his commitment to human rights in Burma by issuing an Executive Order that maintains the US ban on the import of Burmese ruby and jadeite, despite the softening of sanctions in other areas. This measure to ban Burma’s conflict ruby and jadeite, which was first included in the Tom Lantos Block Burmese […]

Burma’s Jade War Continues…

The conflict in resource-rich Kachin state between government troops hoping to secure control over the vast jadeite resources and the armed wing of the Kachin Independence Organization persists, despite calls for an end to the bloodshed. Even the country’s president, Thein Sein last month voiced support for a ceasefire, but those calls were promptly ignored […]

Brian Leber Quoted by Voice of America

An article published by Voice of America entitled “Activists Wary of US Easing Ban on Burmese Imports,” highlights the concerns many activists, including Leber Jeweler president Brian Leber, share regarding Burma’s future, as western countries begin to look toward the resource-rich country for investment opportunities. As we mentioned in our November 17th journal post, the […]

Burmese Ruby: The Sanctions Will Remain

Burma is a country in flux. It’s making the first hesitant steps away from decades of brutal repression. Yet, despite the glimmering of hope, many problems still remain. Scores of political prisoners are still behind bars, the official government is primarily comprised of military and former military leaders, and human rights abuses continue in many […]

Congress Renews Burma Sanctions

We are very pleased that both the Senate and the House of Representatives have overwhelmingly supported the renewal of import restrictions contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003. This renewal includes the ban on Burmese rubies and jadeite outlined in the Block Burmese JADE Act of 2008. Our thanks go out to […]

Michigan Avenue Magazine: Q&A with Brian Leber

We’ve been featured by Michigan Avenue Magazine in an interview with company president Brian Leber, covering topics including social responsibility as well as the nature of Chicago design. You can read the interview here.

A Brief Allegory About Burma

Three gunmen storm into a crowded bank. They announce that it’s a robbery and, to make their intentions clear, kill the bank’s guard and a teller. The police arrive and there’s a standoff. The gunmen, who now have a dozen hostages inside of the bank, demand $1 million dollars and safe passage. After several hours […]

Aung San Suu Kyi Has Won: Now What?

On April 23, Aung San Suu Kyi, along with thirty-six other members of the National League for Democracy, will take their places in Burma’s 440-seat lower house of parliament still largely dominated by the military and their closest allies. Daw Suu Kyi said during recent campaigning that her main goals as a lawmaker would be to […]