Category Archives: Human Rights

Scores of Political Prisoners Free at Last in Burma

Today is a day many of us in the Burma pro-democracy community have hoped for and worked hard to achieve for so very long. Thein Sein’s military-backed government in Burma announced the release of 651 prisoners currently held in detention. It is unclear how many of these are political prisoners, but several of those released today […]

Dr. Cynthia’s Amazing Work for the People of Burma

While the politics surrounding Burma often takes center stage, the country still suffers from massive humanitarian issues that are a direct consequence of the decades of iron-fisted rule. Burma spends 3% of its gross domestic product on healthcare but 40% on its military, a sad indicator of the concern shown for the people of Burma […]

US Sanctions Against Zimbabwe Diamonds

We have stated this time and time again. Importing Zimbabwean diamonds into the US is against the law. Since 2008, the United States has had targeted sanctions in place against many of the key actors profiting from Zimbabwe’s diamonds, including the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation. Conducting financial transactions with these individuals and entities, either directly […]

Can’t See the (Burmese) Forest for the Trees

This week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Burma, as part of what some have called a “new chapter in relations” with the secretive and often brutal regime. It is true, there have been some measures taken that are not typical for the rulers of this troubled country. But caution needs to be the watchword, […]

Zimbabwe’s Conflict Diamonds: Just in Time for Christmas

The diamond industry embarrasses itself…again. Zimbabwe has been given permission to begin exporting diamonds from Marange with full approval from the Kimberley Process, despite documentation of widespread human rights abuses in the diamond fields and strong opposition from NGOs. While the World Diamond Council calls this a “historic success” and the World Federation of Diamond Bourses lauds the […]

Beyond Conflict Minerals: Rape Victims & Slavery

Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a region plagued by violence and, in some ways, cursed by vast resources including gold, continues to be the subject of much debate as the Dodd-Frank provision pertaining to conflict minerals awaits implementation. Yet beyond the stark portrayal of battling rebel groups vying for control of the valuable mining areas, […]

India’s Government Puts Profit Before Human Rights

This week, India’s Commerce Ministry approved the importation of $153 million USD worth of rough diamonds from Zimbabwe’s Marange fields. In a move India’s diamond trade is trumpeting as being good for business, they have in turn given tacit approval to one of the most brutal regime’s in Africa. This move opens the floodgates on what […]

Aung San Suu Kyi on Foreign Investment in Burma

“I do not support foreign investments in Burma now,” Aung San Suu Kyi told the president of the Oslocenter, Kjell Magne Bondevik on Thursday. As part of their push to resume business ties with the regime holding power in Burma, a number of gem dealers, along with some news outlets, have been falsely claiming the […]

Zimbabwe: A Monumental Museum of Failure

PBS’s Frontline has completed a remarkable documentary, Zimbabwe: Shadows and Lies, that takes a look inside this desperately troubled country. For those following the unending drama over diamonds, Zimbabwe, and the Kimberley Process, this is a must-see. On this night, FRONTLINE/World reporter Alexis Bloom takes the journey with them. Talking to people on the train, Bloom senses that […]

Kimberley Process Falters with Zimbabwe

Despite protests from both the US and the EU, the current chair of the Kimberley Process, DR Congo’s Mathieu Yamba, has authorized the export of diamonds from Zimbabwe. While the KP rules require a consensus and none was achieved, this action by the KP Chair will allow the Mugabe regime to begin earning revenue in […]