Thursday, April 16, 2009

Conflict Minerals

Years ago we heard about the blood diamond amputees in Sierra Leon, fortunately consumers made enough racket to cause some change. As a result, in 2007 Sierra Leon elected the most non-corrupt Parliament in it's history placing the strongest legislation on the harvesting and sale of diamonds the country has ever seen.

Similar action is necessary for the citizens (women in particular) of Congo. Congo is the world's largest and cheapest supplier of tin, titanium, tungsten and gold (affectionately termed the 3T's and Gold) explaining why the country battles over an estimated $344M/yr in these mineral resources.

The 3T's are mostly used for production of electronics like cell phones and laptops, and it is completely within our power to demand that our suppliers use conflict free minerals to manufacture our products.

Congolese women (including children and elderly) are raped in front of their families making Eastern Congo the most dangerous place to be a woman. Here, rape is used as a weapon of war and sexual violence is seen on a larger scale than anywhere else in the war. Militia use this tool to coherence families and villages into performing the slave labor necessary to harvest the countries rich mineral supply.

Overall, 45K people die in the Congo every month due to violence and overall unsafe conditions due to the state of conflict in the country. Since 1996 almost 6 million people have been killed in the Congo, making this countries civil conflict more deadly than WWII.

The UN backed election in Congo in 2006, they were regarded as highly successful elections but have failed to impact the ongoing conflict in Eastern Congo.

Awareness is key, click on the graphic above to find out how you can help this cause.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness I had no idea! ( along with most people in our country ) I am going to see what I can do. Thanks for making people aware of this lindsey!