ICA Fears Burmese Gemstone Ban May Cause Collateral Damage
August 24, 08
In reaction to the legislation recently enacted in the U.S. banning gemstones of Burmese origin from entering the country, the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) expressed its “concern for collateral damage” in the SE Asian country. The ICA said specifically that it fears the systematic ban may have a negative impact on poor people engaged in mining in Myanmar (Burma).
The Tom Lantos Block Burmese Jade Act of 2008 bars Burmese gems from entering the U.S. via third party countries such as Thailand, China, Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore, in an effort to withhold a major source of revenue from the ruling junta.
The ICA reiterated that “its policies are in line with all national and international associations against the violent repression of individuals, human rights and pro-democracy movements in Myanmar.” The organization has also asked its members to stop buying Burmese gemstones from any government sources and/or people who support these endeavors.
However, the ICA also explained that it fears the U.S. government’s decision to support a systematic ban on the trade of Burmese gemstones may “have a negative impact and cause collateral damage upon independent and poor populations engaged in mining processing and trading activities in Myanmar and other countries.“
“Those who will suffer are the very people that the legislation intended to protect,” Andrew Cody, ICA president, said in a statement. “It is a pity that the leadership in national, international and governmental agencies, people that are not really in-the-know as to what takes place on the ground, failed to consult our association on this issue, and to our knowledge, no collateral damage study was undertaken,” he concluded.