21st August 2015
Diamonds for Peace (DFP), Japan-based non-profit organization, started the online petition at change.org addressed to Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos asking to cancel the sentence against the journalist Rafael Marques de Morais who revealed the inconvenient truth of diamonds industry in Angola.
DFP will deliver the signed petitions and the open letter to the Embassy of Angola in Tokyo in two months.
Please sign now and share the petition!
[Online Petition at change.org]
The diamond mining town Cuango where Rafael visited to gather evidences
[Background of This Petition]
In his book “Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola” Mr. Rafael Marques de Morais, Angolan investigative journalist, revealed that from 2009 to 2011 there were systematic criminal activities as well as corruption amongst Angolan government officials which involved more than one hundred murders as well as five hundreds cases of torture in the diamond mining regions of Angola, the fourth largest diamond producing country in the world. Mr. Rafael Marques de Morais was given a six-month sentence with 2 years suspension upon completion on May 28, 2015 in a trial in which he faced nine charges, for example, defamation.
Even though the Angolan government acceded to the “International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights” and “African Charter on Human and People’s Rights” that protects the freedom of expression as well as the rights for fair trials, Mr. Morais was forced to agree not to present evidences, or testimony of an eyewitness in his trial; Mr. Morais was 1) convicted in an unfair trial, and 2) censored for his freedom of speech.
The world would not have known the notorious deeds that are prevalent in diamond mines in Angola if Mr. Morais did not have the courage to publish this book.
Mr. Morais single handedly stood to improve the grueling work environment of diamond miners as well as to stop the cruel deeds such as, torture and murder, by taking a great risk of reporting the inconvenient truth of the diamond industry.
In order to secure the freedom of speech of Mr. Morais who aims to improve the conditions of diamond miners through “Journalism,” we would like to ask you to sign this petition, which requests Angolan president José Eduardo dos Santos to cancel the sentence against Mr. Morais, and share it with everyone you know!
We, Diamonds for Peace, Japan based non-profit organization, will deliver the signed petitions and the open letter to the Embassy of the Republic of Angola in Tokyo, Japan.
We would like to share in the courage of a journalist who stands against the violation of human rights in diamond mines in Angola through this campaign. Thank you for your cooperation!
[Open Letter to the Angolan President]
His Excellency José Eduardo dos Santos
President of the Republic of Angola
Re: Conviction of Rafael Marques de Morais
Dear President dos Santos,
We, the undersigned individuals and organizations, call on you to cancel the verdict for the journalist Rafael Marques de Morais issued on 28th May 2015.
Mr. Morais was not allowed to present the evidence and not given a chance to let his eye witness testify in the trial. This is because the Angolan government officials made an agreement with him prior to the trial pretending to drop the charges against him.
We are concerned that the rights to fair trial and freedom of expression in your country are in danger. Angola acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and ratified the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, both of which stipulate the basic human rights and freedoms.
We strongly request you to take immediate necessary measures to cancel the verdict for Rafael Marques de Morais and ensure that the government of Angola respects and protects the rights of all its citizens.
Thank you for your kind attention to the matter.
(end of the open letter)
“Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola” (English version) by Rafael Marques de Morais
[Articles Related to the Trial]
– Angolan journalist Rafael Marques de Morais receives six-month suspended sentence (Index on Censorship)
– They Can Lock Me Up, But They Don’t Get to Silence Me (Index on Censorship)
– A day in court (Maka Angola)
– Angolan journalist faces further charges over blood diamonds claims (The Guardian)
– This week I may be jailed for writing a book on human rights abuses (The Guardian)
[Articles/Reports Related to Angola]
– Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014, Angola (U.S. Department of State)
– Corruption Is Killing Children in Angola (The New York Times)
[About Diamonds for Peace]
Diamonds for Peace is a Japan based non-profit organization working towards the world in which diamonds are mined, cut and processed with humanitarian and environmental considerations.
Address: 1-2-1 Room302, Furocho, Naka-ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa, Japan
Director General: Chie Murakami