Burma Campaign UK today welcomed a decision by TJC to withdraw Burmese rubies from sale.
TJC is one of the biggest TV shopping channels and online jewellery retailers in the UK.
In a letter to Burma Campaign UK, TJC stated that following the military coup in February 2021 it had an official policy not to source gems from Burma, and the Burmese rubies it had been selling on its website were listed in error. After receiving correspondence from Burma Campaign UK, the Burmese rubies had been withdrawn from sale.
TJC stated: “First and foremost, I want to assure you that we share your concerns and ethical values regarding the situation in Myanmar. Following the military coup in 2021, we made a conscientious decision to withdraw all Burmese jewellery items from our inventory, as we understood the gravity of the situation and the importance of taking a stand against human rights violations.
Unfortunately, due to an unintended oversight, some Burmese jewellery items were mistakenly listed for sale on our platform. As soon as we became aware of this error, we took immediate action to rectify the situation. The listings were promptly removed, and we have taken steps to ensure that such an oversight does not occur again in the future.”
Burma Campaign UK has written to 40 of the biggest and highest profile jewellery retailers in the UK asking them to demonstrate that the gems they sell are not sourced from Burma/Myanmar in ways which help fund the Burmese military.
Following the attempted military coup, which began in February 2021, the Burmese military now dominates Burma’s gems industry, which is potentially worth $2bn per year. Through its own private companies, control of the state-owned enterprises and government ministries, control of trade routes into areas not under its control, legal and illegal trade, and the business interests of military family members, the Burmese military extracts revenue from the gems industry in numerous ways.
This revenue can be used by the Burmese military to buy arms and equipment and so funds the human rights violations they commit.
“It is impressive that TJC had proactively decided not to source gems from Burma following the coup,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “TJC deserve praise for taking an ethical stance on this issue. We hope that other British jewellery retailers will do the same.”