tagged w/ Holocaust in Congo
A recent report from Enough Project ranked the top 21 electronics manufacturers, showing their progress in creating products with conflict-free minerals and the steps they've taken to ensure that. EP estimates that conflict mining is a $185 million business, which is even more shocking when you consider the World Bank says average the average miner makes only $5 a day.
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By Michelle Castillo, TechLand, on December 15, 2010
Many of our electronic devices are made up of minerals like tantalum, used to make the capacitors in most cell phones, and tin, which makes up the inside lining of some cell phones and is used to solder circuit boards. Unfortunately, many of these materials come from conflict-ridden areas of the Congo, where increasing profits from electronic sales help fund the inhumane treatment of people who live and work in the country. The Enough Project, an advocacy group focused on ending genocide and crimes against humanity, estimates that conflict mining is a $185 million business, which is even more shocking when you consider the World Bank says average the average miner makes only $5 a day.
According to Raise Hope for Congo, more than 5.4 million people have died from the continuous wars that ravage the country. The organization urges people to tell companies that they want conflict free products. Congo's minerals are especially attractive to electronic manufacturers because of unregulated mining practices and cheap labor. Minerals from the African nation cost half or a third as much the same materials from other countries, according to the Washington Post. Though the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Act requires manufacturers to identify and get rid of conflict minerals in their products and similar legislation will be mandated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2011, Congolese mines are often controlled by armed groups and militias. These groups smuggle the minerals out of the country to smelting companies on other continents, which means the origin of the minerals can often be masked even from the company commissioning the product. Even though Congo's president announced a ban on all artisanal mining in eastern Congo last August, the ruling has not been enforced by the country's national military and has even negatively affected the citizens who work in the mines as a main source of income.
A recent report from Enough Project ranked the top 21 electronics manufacturers, showing their progress in creating products with conflict-free minerals and the steps they've taken to ensure that. Leading the pack was HP with an over 30 percent improvement. The company has endorsed anti-conflict mineral legislation and advocates for strong US regulations for all manufacturers. Apple, who uses tantalum not only in their smartphones but in iPods as well, were given a yellow score, which means there is much room for improvement. (Though several of their top executives have spoken out against conflict mineral mining in the Congo, they did not weigh in on key US conflict mineral legislation.) Toshiba received the worst score of the bunch; they have barely made any changes at all according to the study. Enough Project knows it may be hard for the average consumer to tell whether or not they are helping fund a war over natural resources just by looking at a product. Still, the group hopes that especially this holiday season when people are out shopping for the latest gadgets that by being little more knowledgeable about which companies are taking a stand against genocide and human rights abuses, shoppers can judge for themselves whether or not to support these crimes against humanity.
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Is Your Mobile Device or Laptop Funding Conflict Mineral Wars?
By Michelle Castillo on December 15, 2010
http://techland.time.com/2010/12/15/is-your-mobile-device-or-laptop-funding-conflict-wars/A recent report from Enough Project ranked the top 21 electronics manufacturers,... more
The United Nations has ordered 900 peacekeepers to a remote region of Democratic Republic of Congo, where the LRA killed more than 1,000 adults and children around Christmas in 2008 and 2009 and kidnapped hundreds more, to head off feared Christmas attacks by Lord's Resistance Army fighters.
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UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations has ordered 900 peacekeepers to a remote region of Democratic Republic of Congo, to head off feared Christmas attacks by Lord's Resistance Army fighters, a spokesman said Tuesday.
UN forces will go to a region where the LRA killed more than 1,000 adults and children around Christmas in 2008 and 2009 and kidnapped hundreds more.
The UN mission in DR Congo is also sending extra humanitarian supplies to the region, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters.
A special operation against the LRA has been launched in the Dungu district of Upper Uele region and would carry on until mid-January because of fears of the "holiday season" attacks, Nesirky said.
The announcement came after the UN Security Council called for greater international action against the LRA, which is led by Joseph Kony who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The LRA sprang out of a rebellion in Uganda in the 1980s but now terrorizes communities in Central African Republic, southern Sudan and DR Congo.
The Security Council welcomed an African Union move to set up a joint task force to fight the LRA and deploy joint border patrols.
"It calls for the countries of the region to enhance coordination and information sharing regarding the the threat posed by the LRA," said a Security Council statement on efforts to bring peace to Central African Republic.
Ugandan special forces currently lead the international hunt for Kony, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In December 2008, LRA fighters killed 865 men, women and children in the northeastern DR Congo and in southern Sudan, and kidnapped hundreds of others.
A year later 300 people were murdered between December 14 and 17, also in northeast DR Congo.
The United States has promised to support a new effort to catch Kony and halt the conflict generated by the LRA, but in a report titled "Ghosts of Christmas Past," 19 aid agencies said the Security Council should do more.
The report said LRA attacks remote communities in Sudan, Central African Republic and DR Congo almost four times a week.
"These communities await Christmas with fear," added the groups, who include Oxfam, Christian Aid, Refugees International, World Vision and War Child UK, among others.
The UN refugee agency said in October that the rebels had killed 2,000 people since December 2008, kidnapped more than 2,600 and displaced more than 400,000 in DR Congo, the Central African Republic and southern Sudan.
"The acute suffering and mass population displacement the LRA has generated across international borders is undermining stability in an already fragile region, where southern Sudan is preparing to hold a landmark referendum on secession in early 2011," the report said.
The aid groups welcomed recent steps by the United States and the African Union. But it said kidnapped people had to be helped to return home and villages had to be protected.
The aid groups called on the UN Security Council to set up an expert panel as "there is a chronic lack of information about the motivation, composition and location of the LRA."
The LRA began their rebellion in northern Uganda in the late 1980s, but have not carried out an attack there since 2006.
Since south Sudanese-hosted peace talks broke down in 2008, the fighters have roamed the jungles of central Africa and been repeatedly blamed for the slaughter of defenseless civilians.
The African Union has said the LRA should be called "terrorists" rather than rebels.
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UN peacekeepers to head off Christmas massacre
(AFP) – Dec 13, 2010The United Nations has ordered 900 peacekeepers to a remote region of Democratic... more
Leaders from 11 nations in the conflict-ravaged Great Lakes region of central Africa on Tuesday signed a pledge – partly drafted by a Canadian organization – to stamp out the illegal trade of conflict minerals.
Signed at a summit in the Zambian capital of Lusaka by governments including the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi, the pledge commits signatory states to take steps to implement a regional certification system to track such minerals as they are exported from Africa for smelting in Asia.
The summit was called to address mining practices that have helped to fuel mass rapes and massacres in the eastern provinces of Congo. The illegitimate mining of minerals such as coltan, tungsten, tin and gold, which are used in electronic devices, is widespread in the region and often finances armed groups.
Among the mechanisms to be implemented is a “bag-and-tag” system in which minerals are tagged at their point of origin. The African nations also said they would create a database to make it easier to identify and track minerals that originate in areas of conflict.
The move by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region comes as governments in the United States, Canada and Europe consider legislation that would make roughly 6,000 manufacturers, including BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd., responsible for tracking the minerals used in their products.
PLEASE GO AND READ THE ARTICLE !
IAIN MARLOW AND OMAR EL AKKAD
From Thursday's Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010 2:02PM EST
Last updated Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010 6:57PM EST
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/african-leaders-pledge-to-wipe-out-trade-of-conflict-minerals/article1839121/?cmpid=rss1Leaders from 11 nations in the conflict-ravaged Great Lakes region of central Africa... more
Hundreds of women and children were raped over and over during 3 days in July, another incident reported in August... estimates indicate many thousands of women and girls are brutalized each year on a gross scale ...for the creature comforts of civilized society. Efforts to combat illicit mining of coltan and other minerals are gaining traction, as politicians in Canada and other Western governments look to establish tough penalties against the practice. When we glance at the holocaust in Congo, with about 7 million dead, the clichés of Africa reporting tumble out: this is a "tribal conflict" in "the Heart of Darkness". It isn't. The United Nations investigation found it was a ****war led by "armies of business" to seize the metals*** that make our 21st-century society zing and bling. The war in Congo is a war about you.
(Mash-Quoted from various articles included below. When you see 5.4 million quoted, that is up to 2007, estimates for up to today are at 6.5 to 7 million.)
"Dr. Mukwege [see below] believes the number of women who have been raped since the beginning of the conflict is far higher than the U.N. estimates of 200,000-300,000, saying the real figure is more like half a million."
Over 6,000 rape incidents a year (in recent years) are conservatively estimated based just on what gets reported.
And we do not see the continuing dismemberment and murders (possibly decapitations), nor much footage from the few doctors you may read about working in the tranches.
"Exploited African oil, coltan, chocolate, bauxite, gold, coffee, platinum, chromium, iron, gas, flowers, agriculture and animals are dripping in the blood of African people, making billions of dollars for Europe and America. "
"In the end, it will be consumer education and pressure that will make the difference."
Lets wake up. There's more we can be doing...
Over 10 years, and its still going strong... "The mining industry in that country relies on slave labour, violence and sexual assault. Since the popularity of smartphones has risen, warlords in the country have taken control of the mines to retrieve the precious metal, then sell it on the international market to manufacturers of the gadgets that will ultimately end up under our Christmas trees." more at this link-->
Consider how much of this is about our cell phones and laptops, DVD players, computers, digital cameras, video games, vehicle air bags, jewelry (gold and diamonds), chocolate, and more... all the things so many feel they cannot live without [sic].
And so what can we do? What are we doing? Are we forgetting to keep an eye on this?
The main article prompting me to post is marked as such below. I have included a lot of links to other interesting articles, almost all within the last couple months. There are a couple of key things we all can be doing...
- we need to keep an eye on manufacturers and govt actions behind the statute in the Dodd-Frank bill discussed below
- there's a really provocative video in my third post below, please check it out... the ideas expressed there seem to make very good sense for changing things that matter.
Q&A: DR Congo conflict (first, a little down and dirty overview)
"In November 2009, a report by UN-commissioned experts said UN involvement had done nothing to quell the violence - with rebels continuing to kill and plunder natural resources with impunity and claims the rebels are supported by an international crime network stretching through Africa to Western Europe and North America."
Timeline: Democratic Republic of Congo
Prevalence of Rape in E. Congo Described as Worst in World (sep 2007)
IPS: Activists Slam World's "Grotesque Indifference"
The following are Excerpts - go read the article:
"TORONTO, Canada, Dec 3 (IPS) - International lust for the enormous mineral and resource riches of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) abetted by international indifference has turned much of country into a colossal "rape mine" where more than 300,000 women and girls have been brutalised, say activists."
""Rape is being used as a deliberate tool to control people and territory," said Eve Ensler, a celebrated U.S. playwright and founder of V-Day, a global movement in 120 countries to end violence against women and girls."
"This "blood coltan" - akin to blood diamonds -
**generates billions of dollars of sales every year for electronics manufacturers in rich countries***
****hundreds of millions of dollars to rebels and others who control the coltan-producing regions.****
Coltan is also produced in other countries, and the DRC's "blood coltan" is often transported to those countries to give it a sheen of conflict-free provenance. "
There is a lot of news brewing if you look for it. I am disconcerted to seen almost none of it on Current. So you will forgive me if I post what may seem like to much information... I don't think you can have too much of this information and awareness about this.
What is ailing them is not isolated to "them over there". WE are a strong hand in their lives, and deaths, and suffering, by what we do, and what we fail to do.
Do you think it matters to be making an effort during your news sojourns 'out there' to find and read some news in/on Africa?Hundreds of women and children were raped over and over during 3 days in July, another... more