Is your cell phone dirty?
For all who care about the Congo ... this update from the Enough Project is really important. My hope and prayer is that in the years to come, "fair trade/ethical buying" will extend to every economic sector - from coffee to gifts to lumber to high-tech gadgets.
Despite an official ban on minerals mining, the trade in conflict minerals continues, and is dominated by a mafia-like network of military, political, rebel and business interests, raising the urgency for an international certification process for the lucrative minerals industry.
Our new report, "Why a Certification Process for Conflict Minerals is Urgent: A View from North Kivu," is based on Enough Project interviews from eastern Congo over the last few months. "The mass rape of over 300 women in Walikale this past summer was a shocking reminder of the humanitarian implications of the unregulated minerals trade in Congo and the failure of the state to protect its citizens," Enough Co-Founder John Prendergast said. "If the U.S. doesn’t lead in the construction of an international certification process that takes the profits from illegally and violently extracted minerals out of the hands of the armed groups, the incentive structure will remain biased towards impunity, conflict, and a predatory state."
"Armed groups claim to be fighting one another for a cause, but they have in fact become business partners in mineral-rich Walikale and in other areas of eastern Congo," said Enough Analyst Fidel Bafilemba. "Despite a ban on mineral exports, commanders are abandoning civilian protection posts to compete for control of mines, earning millions of dollars per month from extracting and heavily taxing minerals."