Conflict Minerals

Companies Mark Major Benchmark, Support a Conflict-Free Minerals Trade in Congo

Today marks the deadline for publicly traded companies in the United States to disclose the potential presence of conflict minerals in their supply chains, and what they’re doing about it. While many positive trends are emerging, implementation of Dodd-Frank 1502 is still in its nascent stages and there are many improvements still to be made. As Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Sakahrov Prize Winner Dr. Denis Mukwege stated: "A conflict-free minerals industry would contribute to ending the unspeakable violence the people of Congo have endured for years."  Read More »

Brandeis University Goes Conflict-Free

Date: 
May 21, 2015

 

$4 Million Annual Electronics Purchase Policy to Support Peace in Congo

May 21, 2015 - Student activists are celebrating the announcement from Brandeis University of a new policy to ensure computers and other electronic equipment they purchase are not connected to killing, child abductions, and sexual violence in the mining sector of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Spurred by an international student movement called the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative, the procurement policy requires that the makers of all of the university's most commonly purchased electronic equipment be surveyed to determine possible connections to illegal mining and smuggling in eastern Congo by violent armed groups.

Annie CallawaySenior Advocacy Associate at the Enough Project, said: "The Brandeis resolution shows how far the conflict-free movement has come. Brandeis is the 19th school worldwide to change its procurement policy to favor companies working to make their products conflict-free and support the livelihoods of Congolese miners and their communities. Thanks to the hard work of students leading the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative at Brandeis, the university has taken an important extra step by committing to survey companies on their conflict mineral policies. This proactive industry engagement by Brandeis will further amplify the call for products made with conflict-free minerals sourced from eastern Congo.”

Gina GkoulgkountinaConflict-Free Campus Initiative (CFCI) student leader at Brandeis, said: "After 3 years working to pass a conflict-free procurement resolution, I am proud to see Brandeis joining the growing community of schools actively supporting peace in Congo. Working with the Library and Technology Services, procurement and administration staff to achieve this has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I am confident Brandeis will implement this critical policy in a thorough, responsible manner."

Lisa M. Lynch, Ph.D., Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy at Brandeis University, said: "From the founding of the university, a special characteristic of Brandeis students has been how profoundly they care about people around the world and take action to address problems faced by the most vulnerable. Today, I am extremely proud of our students and their initiative to address the human tragedies caused by conflict minerals. After advocacy by our students who are involved with the Enough Project, our policy committee voted unanimously to ask the suppliers of our most commonly purchased and leased electronic items (desktop and laptop computers, printers, scanners, and copiers) to show due diligence in auditing the sources and provenance of potential conflict minerals in their supply chain."

Brandeis spends an estimated $4 million annually on computers and other products that are potentially affected by the new “conflict-free” policy. The resolution builds momentum for statewide conflict minerals legislation in Massachusetts.

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, +1 310-717-0606gh@enoughproject.org 

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ABOUT THE ENOUGH PROJECT

For media use, short version: "The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention research and policy group."

The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress aiming to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, Central African Republic, Somalia, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research in conflict zones, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. For more information, visit www.EnoughProject.org

ABOUT THE CONFLICT-FREE CAMPUS INITIATIVE

An initiative of the Enough Project’s “Raise Hope for Congo” campaign, the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative (CFCI) draws on the power of student leadership and activism to help support peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. By encouraging university officials and stakeholders - both of whom are large purchasers of electronics and powerful spokespersons - to commit to measures that pressure electronics companies to responsibly invest in the minerals sector, students are voicing the demand for conflict-free products from Congo. Comprehensive reform is needed in Congo to bring about sustainable peace - now is the time is for students to lead the conflict-free movement. Join us: www.raisehopeforcongo.org/campus

New Congo Report: Congo’s Conflict Gold Rush and How to Counter it

A trade in illegally mined and smuggled “conflict gold” is fueling both high-level military corruption and violent rebel groups in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to a new report by the Enough Project. “Congo’s Conflict Gold Rush: Bringing gold into the legal trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” by the Enough Project’s Fidel Bafilemba and Sasha Lezhnev, offers an in-depth portrait of the conflict gold supply chain, from muddy artisanal mines where gold is dug out with shovels and pick-axes, through illicit transport routes in Uganda, Burundi, and Dubai. Based on seven months of field research at mines and in regional capitals, the report provides an in-depth discussion of solutions to the conflict gold supply chain. The U.S. government, European Union, jewelers, socially responsible investors, the World Bank, and activists all have important roles to play.  Read More »

Dr. Denis Mukwege Pens NY Times Op-Ed on 'Conflict Minerals'

This op-ed originally appeared on The New York Times and was written by Dr. Denis Mukwege, the founder and medical director of the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, and founder of the PanziFoundation USA.  Read More »

Congo's Conflict Gold Rush: Bringing Gold into the Legal Trade in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

A trade in illegally mined and smuggled “conflict gold” is fueling both high-level military corruption and violent rebel groups in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to a new report by the Enough Project. “Congo’s Conflict Gold Rush: Bringing gold into the legal trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” by the Enough Project’s Fidel Bafilemba and Sasha Lezhnev, offers an in-depth portrait of the conflict gold supply chain, from muddy artisanal mines where gold is dug out with shovels and pick-axes, through illicit transport routes in Uganda, Burundi, and Dubai. Based on seven months of field research at mines and in regional capitals, the report provides an in-depth discussion of solutions to the conflict gold supply chain.

Claire Underwood Calls for Investment in Congo’s Mineral Sector – Grab Lunch with Her and Talk it Over

House of Cards actor and Enough Project upstander Robin Wright wants you to join her for lunch on the set of the hit television series to talk politics, power, and maybe even Congo. It only costs $10 and the funds benefit Enough’s Raise Hope for Congo campaign.  Read More »

Ending Grand Theft on a Global Scale: Prosecuting the War Crime of Pillage

M23 rebel fighters north of Goma, DRC (2012) AP Photo/Jerome Delay

In Enough Project Policy Analyst Holly Dranginis’ latest report, Grand Theft Global: Prosecuting the War Crime of Natural Resource Pillage in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Dranginis provides an inside look at why the widespread theft of minerals in Congo has gone on unpunished, and how policymakers and legal practitioners can help advance cases.  Grand Theft Global is the result of research in Congo, The Hague, and Washington, DC, including dozens of interviews with Congolese attorneys, international prosecutors, and local communities affected by pillage and the violence it enables.  Read More »

Grand Theft Global - Prosecuting the War Crime of Natural Resource Pillage in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

From the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) to Al-Shabaab, many of the world’s most infamous and destabilizing armed actors today finance their activities in part through the illegal exploitation and trade of natural resources. Theft in the context of armed conflict constitutes the war crime of pillage, which is punishable in most domestic jurisdictions and at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Depuis l'État islamique d'Irak et du Levant (ISIL : Islamic State of Irak and the Levant) de l’Armée de Résistance du Seigneur (LRA : Lord’s Resistance Army) jusqu'à  Al-Shabaab, de nombreuses forces armées, les plus infâmes et les plus déstabilisatrices du monde d’aujourd'hui, financent en partie leurs activités grâce au trafic et à l'exploitation illicites des ressources naturelles. Tout vol commis dans le cadre des conflits armés est considéré comme crime de guerre de pillage, lequel est punissable dans la plupart des juridictions nationales ainsi qu’à la Cour Pénale Internationale (CPI).

ThinkProgress: 9 Things You Need to Know about Conflict Minerals

The armed conflict in eastern Congo that has killed over 5.4 million people is financed largely by trading minerals used in an array of common consumer products around the world, from electronics to jewelry. Recent critiques by the Cato Institute and in the Washington Post have questioned whether current local and international initiatives to combat the problem are causing more harm than good. Last month, the Enough Project’s U.S. and Congo-based teams visited mining communities in eastern Congo to get an updated assessment on conflict minerals. To help you better understand what's at stake, we've provided 9 things you need to know about conflict minerals on ThinkProgress.  Read More »

Going for Gold: Engaging the Jewelry Industry in Responsible Gold Sourcing in Africa’s Great Lakes Region

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (“Congo”), gold is a major financial lifeline for armed actors. Fortunately, jewelry retailers and consumers can play important roles to help end the conflict gold trade and the suffering it causes, together with the actions of governments. The Enough Project has engaged with the largest jewelry retailers in an effort to encourage companies to use their power and resources in more robust, effective ways to support responsible sourcing in Congo and the Great Lakes Region. Two companies in particular—Tiffany & Co. and Signet Jewelers—have demonstrated clear leadership in beginning to address the conflict gold issue by taking proactive steps to set up supply chain controls, contribute to solutions on the ground in Congo, and support the communities affected by mining and violence in Congo.

Learn More About the #CongoGold Jewelry Leader Review and Campaign here.


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