WASHINGTON, D.C. – The scramble for minerals did not spark the conflict in eastern Congo, but war profiteering has become the fuel that keeps the region aflame and lies beneath the surface of major regional tensions, notes a strategy paper released today by the Enough Project at the Center for American Progress.
"From Mine to Mobile Phone: The Conflict Minerals Supply Chain,” describes in detail the path that “conflict minerals” travel between their extraction during mining in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and their use in the manufacture of cell phones, laptops, MP3 players, and video game systems. The Enough Project paper identifies six separate steps in this complex supply chain.
"Understanding how the supply chain works is critical to persuading electronics companies to finally produce verifiably conflict-free cell phones and computers," says Sasha Lezhnev, the paper's co-author. "Conflict minerals lie beneath the surface of major regional tensions. Those who benefit from this deadly trade know full well that they are dealing with illegally exploited minerals, and they do so with a wink and a nod from governments and larger purchasers that have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo."
John Prendergast, the paper's co-author and a co-founder of the Enough Project, adds: "Because companies do not currently have a system to trace, audit, and certify where their materials come from, all cell phones and laptops likely contain conflict minerals from Congo. By demanding conflict-free products, consumers have a critical role to play in ensuring that Congo’s minerals to benefit its people rather than the armed groups that prey upon them."
The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on crises in Sudan, Chad, eastern Congo, northern Uganda, Somalia, and Zimbabwe. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, contact Eileen White Read, 202.741.6376; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The commanders of the military offensive here in South Kivu are quick to provide detailed figures on the number of rebels they have killed or caused to surrender. But these numbers provide little comfort to communities paying the price for the poorly organized operations.
There are now two major sources of insecurity in South Kivu: reprisal attacks by the FDLR seeking to punish civilian populations for ‘supporting’ the government offensive, and a wider climate of abuses and atrocities committed by the Congolese army, local militias with shifting loyalties, and other bandits and armed groups.
What do these things have in common? Pro Fair Trade Finland is organizing a petition through the makeITfair campaign asking Nokia to develop more ethical mobile phones, and they're asking for your help.
A senior Lord’s Resistance Army commander has surrendered to the Ugandan military, BBC is reporting. Charles Arop, one of the instigators behind last year’s “Christmas massacre” in Congo, handed himself over to troops on Tuesday. Read More »