Sunday, June 29, 2008

Israeli settlement backer is boycotted by the U.N. children's fund (UNICEF)


"UNICEF rejects Leviev support:

"Diamond mogul facing increasing pressure for human rights violations"

June 23, 2008

On the Web at:

New York—The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has cut ties with billionaire diamantaire Lev Leviev due to his suspected involvement in building Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, according to a letter sent from the organization to activist group Adalah-NY.

According to the letter, sent from Chris de Bono, UNICEF's senior advisor of communications for the executive director, UNICEF will no longer consider "partnerships—direct or indirect—with Mr. Leviev or any of his corporate entities, and will not accept financial or other support that we know is from him or his corporate entities."

In a letter to Adalah-NY dated March 25, 2008, UNICEF explained that Leviev had indirectly supported UNICEF three times, "each time as a sponsor of fund-raising activities organized by the French magazine Gala in support of UNICEF."

UNICEF's rejection of Leviev's support followed meetings with Adalah-NY, letters from organizations and Palestinian communities advocating a boycott of Leviev's companies, and a visit by UNICEF officials to Jayyous, one of the Palestinian communities where a Leviev company is allegedly building Israeli settlements, according to Adalah-NY.

Leviev's diamond-mining companies in Angola have also been accused of serious human rights abuses.

"UNICEF officials visited us in May and saw the terrible impacts on our children of the theft of our farmland for the expansion of Zufim settlement by Leviev's company leader," Mohammed Taher Jaber, the mayor of the West Bank village of Jayyous, said in a media release. "We thank UNICEF for upholding international law and supporting children's rights, and we call on other organizations to do the same."

Officials from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, have also announced that they would not allow Leviev to open planned jewelry stores in the region following boycott calls issued by Adalah-NY and Palestinian communities, Adalah-NY reports.