Sasha Lezhnev's blog

Sasha Lezhnev is Associate Director of Policy at the Enough Project, where he focuses on peace, conflict, and corporate accountability issues in central Africa. He is a Governance Committee member of the Public-Private Alliance on Responsible Minerals Trade (PPA). Sasha is also Founding Director of the Grassroots Reconciliation Group, an organization that runs projects with former child soldiers in northern Uganda. He previously worked at Global Witness, the International Crisis Group, and the U.S. Institute of Peace on U.S. policy issues on conflict resources, extractive industries transparency, and peace processes in Africa. He was based in Uganda for 2 1/2 years as Senior Program Officer with the Northern Uganda Peace Initiative and advisor to the chief mediator of the peace process with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

He is author of the book Crafting Peace: Strategies to Deal with Warlords in Collapsing States. He holds a Master's in International Relations from Cambridge University and a B.S. in Foreign Service magna cum laude from Georgetown University.

Book by Sasha Lezhnev

Crafting Peace: Strategies to Deal with Warlords in Collapsing States


Photo credit: Woodrow Wilson Center

Six reasons why Kabila should sign a democratic deal now. It will get worse for him if he doesn’t

There may still be hope yet to bring the Democratic Republic of Congo back from the brink. Senior Congolese politicians, western diplomats, and French television are reporting that Joseph Kabila and the political opposition are getting closer to signing a deal on a democratic transition, brokered by the Catholic bishops in Congo, CENCO.  Read More »

Over 140 Mines in Congo are Now Officially Conflict-Free: the Latest List

Tantalum Miners in DRC

Over the past three years, teams of business persons, government officials, and civil society members have been traveling to mines in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to assess whether or not the mines are conflict-free. Out of a total 180 mines assessed so far, 141 have now been validated as conflict-free.  Read More »

Apple makes progress on conflict minerals, should build on work in Congo

Three and a half years ago, Enough and Campus Progress (now known as Generation Progress) protested the opening of Apple’s  prestigious new store in Georgetown, Washington, DC because it was lagging behind other companies on combating the trade in conflict minerals from eastern Congo. Today, such a protest would be unnecessary. Apple released its annual Supplier Responsibility report yesterday, and the company is making some significant strides on conflict minerals.  Read More »

HP, Sandisk Publish the Names of Their Smelters, a Significant Step for Cleaner Supply Chains

Tin Ore

Four years ago, electronics companies gave us many excuses for why digging into their supply chains to find conflict minerals was too difficult. “This is too ambitious,” they said. “We have thousands of suppliers, how can we know our smelters?”   Read More »

Wall Street Journal Highlights Congo’s Conflict Gold Trade: U.S. Should Sanction Smugglers

Congolese miners

This morning the Wall Street Journal published an exposé on the conflict gold trade from eastern Congo, which is worth an estimated $285-400 million per year. The article details the lucrative trade in conflict gold as it is transported from mines in eastern Congo to smugglers in Uganda and Burundi and then to jewelers and dealers in Dubai and India. As the piece highlights, conflict gold is an increasingly important issue for jewelers and the gold industry, as there now exists a “shadowy chain of smuggled gold that stretches from the conflict zones of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the markets of Dubai and jewelry shops around the world.”  Read More »

CNN Op-ed: Congo's "Terminator" Surrenders, What Next for Peace?

Ntaganda during his first appearance before judges of the ICC.

On March 18, a Congolese warlord known as Bosco "the Terminator" Ntaganda surrendered to the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda.   Read More »

New MONUSCO Mandate Should Include Programs to Increase Defections, Combat Smuggling

In the coming days, the United Nations Security Council will be debating the mandate of the U.N. mission in Congo known as MONUSCO, the world’s largest peacekeeping force. Based on a recent trip to eastern Congo and conversations with U.N. peacekeepers themselves, here are three ideas that I would want my taxpayer dollars to go toward.  Read More »

Apple Makes New Pledges on Conflict Minerals, Should Begin Clean Congo Sourcing Program

Tech giant Apple has come a long way on conflict minerals. In 2010, they were one of the worst consumer electronics companies in their response to this serious problem, and Enough Project, Campus Progress, and A Thousand Sisters protested the opening of their store in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. But Apple has started to turn the corner on conflict minerals with some substantial steps.  Read More »

29 Smelters Go Conflict Free, More Help from Aerospace Companies Needed

Last week, the electronics industry updated its list of audited conflict-free smelters to 29. This is up from 11 smelters in the Conflict-Free Smelter program, or CFS, at the start of 2012—nearly tripling the size of the program over the past year.  Read More »

Obama Administration to Support Key Part of Fight Against Conflict Minerals: Independent Monitoring

The Obama administration announced last Thursday that it will support a critical missing link in the fight against conflict minerals: independent monitoring. This is a major step in the long fight against the illegal trade in conflict minerals.  Read More »

Syndicate content