Diamond Mogul, Lev Leviev, Facing Increasing Pressure for Human Rights Violations
New York, NY, June 19, 2008 – A senior advisor to UNICEF’s Director said in a letter today that UNICEF will reject all partnerships with, or financial support from, Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev. Leviev had previously provided UNICEF with support by sponsoring fundraising events in France. Leviev’s past support for UNICEF is featured in a number of places on his company’s website (www.leviev.com).
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 building Israeli settlements. Leviev’s diamond-mining companies in Angola have also been accused of serious human rights abuses.
Abdullah Abu Rahme, a community leader from the West Bank village of Bil’in, said, “We welcome UNICEF’s decision to hold one of the companies that has been building Mattityahu East settlement accountable for attempting to destroy our community. Our village has engaged in a three and a half year nonviolent campaign to save our land, and an international boycott is an important complement to our weekly protests. This is a victory, but we need many more like it.” Leviev’s companies have also recently built homes in the settlements of Maale Adumim and Har Homa, both of which cut off East Jerusalem from the West Bank.