Iman backs company which opposes Indigenous rights

November 19, 2003

This page was created in 2003 and may contain language which is now outdated.

Somali supermodel Iman is backing a company which opposes Indigenous peoples' rights, despite press reports that she had withdrawn her support. Iman is the public 'face' of De Beers, and is reportedly being paid around US$1 million to promote the company.

De Beers says that they oppose the idea of recognising the rights of Indigenous peoples, as doing so would lead to 'apartheid'. This idea has drawn criticism from Indigenous peoples around the world. Geoff Clark, head of Australia's leading Aboriginal organisation – the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission – called it 'nonsensical and offensive'.

De Beers has been drawn into the controversy surrounding the Botswana government's forced relocation of the Indigenous Gana and Gwi 'Bushmen' of that country. Many suspect that the rich diamond deposits under their land are the reason for the Bushmen's eviction. Diamond mining in Botswana is controlled by De Beers.

The head of De Beers's Botswana subsidiary has publicly welcomed the Bushmen's forced removal.

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