Category Archives: Human Rights

Conflict Diamonds: By Any Other Name

It made a lot of sense when the newly elected Kimberley Process Chair from the US, Ambassador Gillian A Milovanovic, put forward a proposal to broaden the definition of conflict diamonds to include diamond-related violence in rough diamond producing and trading areas. This is a fundamental change we’ve been trumpeting for years. At present, the […]

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 […]

Nobel Peace Laureates Coming to Chicago

On April 23-25, Chicago will be hosting the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. The event will feature highly esteemed panelists including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, President Jimmy Carter, President Lech Walesa, President Mikhail Gorbachev, and Professor Muhammed Yunas, in addition to programs including “One Person Can Make A Difference” and “Women Forging […]

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 […]

On Burma: “An election alone is not going to change the country.”

This Sunday, by-elections will be held in Burma to fill 45 vacant seats in Burma’s 664-seat parliament. Among those campaigning for a seat is Aung San Suu Kyi. While her election will do little to change the balance of power in a country where the recently amended constitution requires 25% of seated parliamentarians to be […]

India Cautioned By United States Over Sanctioned Diamonds

“I consider Zimbabwe diamonds as products under sanction,” said Gillian Milovanovic, the US Chair of the Kimberley Process, during a visit to the Surat region in India, where 92% of the world’s diamonds are cut and polished. India recently signed a deal with Zimbabwe to import that country’s rough diamonds for processing. Many of these […]

Burma’s Blood Rubies

Monday night’s panel discussion at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs went extremely well. It was a sold out program with a variety of interesting questions from audience members. There was a strong consensus that while Burma is showing the flickering signs of reform, much more tangible progress is needed before the US starts lifting […]

Monday, February 27th at 6pm – Panel Discussion on Burma

I’ve been invited to speak as part of a panel discussion on Monday, February 27, 2012, hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The program is entitled “BLOOD RUBIES: A LENS INTO BURMA” and will focus on recent events in Burma and the role they play with Burma’s lucrative gemstone trade. This public program is […]

Remembering An Activist

Most people have never heard of Thet Nwe. He was one of the 300 political prisoners released earlier this month by the regime in Burma. We hope former General Thein Sein is sincere when he says his government is committed to moving the country towards a healthy democracy. Only time will tell. But Thet Nwe […]