Over 5.4 million dead. Over 2 million displaced. Congo is home to the deadliest conflict since World War II.
The war in eastern Congo began in the early 1990s and continues to this day. It has encompassed two international wars—from 1996 to 1997 and 1998 to 2003—and multiple invasions from neighboring countries, with combatants from many armed groups, both foreign and domestic. While Congo has abundant natural resources, it is also the world’s poorest country per capita, according to the United Nations. Congo is also home to the largest and most expensive U.N. peacekeeping mission in the world, MONUSCO, which has more than 20,000 personnel and an annual budget of $1.4 billion. The eastern part of the country is plagued by instability, as militias continue to wreak havoc on the population. Meanwhile, the conflict gets very little coverage by the international media.
The conflict in Congo is notorious for serious violations of human rights, including violence against women and the use of child soldiers. Since 1996 the International Rescue Committee has calculated that approximately 5.4 million people have died from war-related causes. In 2012 Congo ranked lowest on the United Nations Human Development Index.
On July 27, 2014, The Enough Project participated in roundtable discussion at the Jewelers of America (JA) New York Show, co-hosted by JA and the National Retail Federation (NRF), to discuss the need for responsible gold sourcing from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Currently, the illegal mining and trade of minerals, particularly gold, fuel terrible violence and suffering for the Congolese people. The discussion centered on industry experiences and practical tools to build on current corporate initiatives for responsible sourcing and development in Congo and the Great Lakes Region.
In important developments last Thursday, on 31 July, Congolese authorities cleared all charges leveled against General Amisi Kumba, former commander of the Congolese land forces. Amisi was suspended on 22 November 2012 following accusations made by the United Nations Group of Experts that he “oversees a network distributing hunting ammunition for poachers and armed groups, including Raïa Mutomboki” and Nyatura. The Rwandan government further asserted that Amisi contributes weapons to the FDLR rebel group. Amisi is also accused of a number of war crimes including widespread killings, summary executions, rapes, and pillage. Read More »
When Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee led women in song at the fish markets on the Liberian coast in the late 1990s, she began one of the most striking peace movements of our time. Amidst brutal civil war, Gbowee mobilized women across diverse religious and political affiliations to demand inclusion in their country’s peace process. As they advanced from church basements to picket lines to presidential palaces, little did Gbowee know she would inspire women over a decade later, almost three thousand miles away in the war-ravaged eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Read More »
This week, the US Africa Leaders Summit in Washington marks an unprecedented opportunity for political and business leaders to discuss new investment opportunities in Africa. Major summit events include the US-Africa Business Forum, co-hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies and moderated by Bill Clinton, as well as numerous meetings focused on trade and economics. As leaders from the US and throughout Africa discuss an emerging frontier for investors, Enough presents its newest report, Doing Good while Doing Well: Is there a Win-Win Formula for Investing Responsibly in Congo’s Minerals Sector? Political and business actors taking advantage of new investment opportunities and partnerships should also use innovative corporate social responsibility approaches, highlighted in Enough’s new report. Read More »
On July 9th, President Kabila appointed Jeannine Mabunda Lioko Mudiayi as Presidential Adviser on Sexual Violence and Child Recruitment. The creation of this position was a response to one of the recommendations that emerged from the national dialogues in September and October 2013. Read More »
On July 17th, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon announced the appointment of senior Algerian diplomat Ambassador Said Djinnit as Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa. With international attention on Congo at a peak, Amb. Djinnit, in cooperation with his colleagues working in the Great Lakes region, African political leaders, and civil society groups, must harness this opportunity and lay the groundwork for a sustainable peace to take root. Read More »
In a web of complex global supply chains, few consumers can say that they share personal relationships with the artisans who craft their clothing and accessories. Mamafrica Designs - an organization based in Bukavu, South Kivu - seeks to provide that connection, while creating a community of beauty, strenght, and resiliance for women in eastern Congo. Read More »
Unlike in the electronics industry, where tech giants Intel and HP have established themselves as industry leaders in the effort to source 3TG responsibly, the automotive industry has largely lacked a conflict-free champion. Lately, however, Ford has taken steps to distinguish itself as a potential catalyst for industry-wide change. Though much more work must be done to bring the conflict-free initiative to the automotive industry, Ford’s Sustainability Report 2013/2014 is a step in the right direction. Read More »