Eastern Congo

Eastern Congo

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.

Armed GroupsArmed Groups

Armed groups wreak havoc in eastern Congo by terrorizing communities and fighting for power and access to mineral resources. Read More

Conflict MineralsConflict Minerals

Armed groups and Congolese military use profits from trading in conflict minerals to self-finance campaigns of brutal violence against civilians. Read More

Justice and AccountabilityJustice and Accountability

Congo needs a system of justice and accountability by which perpetrators of atrocity crimes are caught, tried, and punished for their crimes. Read More

Security Sector ReformSecurity Sector Reform

Congolese security forces pose a significant threat to civilians. In eastern Congo, they commit murder and rape, and carry out torture and extortion. Read More

Congolese WomanSexual Violence

Every day, women and girls face threats from armed militias, the military, and even the police who are responsible for protecting them. Read More

Sustaining LivelihoodsSustaining Livelihoods

As Congo's mining industry transitions from conflict minerals trade to legitimate business, miners need help transitioning to other sustainable sources of livelihood. Read More

 

Help end the crisis in eastern Congo: Take action now. 

Stay updated on Eastern Congo: Read the latest reports.

Introducing Congo’s new Presidential Adviser on Sexual Violence and Child Recruitment

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 »

New UN Envoy to Great Lakes Region is Very Promising

UN Photo/Evan Schneider

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 »

Voices of Congo: Mamafrica and Products With a Purpose

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 »

Ford Sustainability Report 2013/2014 - A Step in the Right Direction

Ford logo

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 »

The Chebeya Case: Persistence in the Pursuit of Justice

On June 2, the family of murdered Congolese human rights activist Floribert Chebeya filed a lawsuit in Senegal accusing a Congolese police officer of participation in the 2010 killing of Chebeya and his driver, Fidele Bazana. The new charges, filed on behalf of the victims’ relatives, are a welcomed development in an otherwise troubling series of events following Chebeya’s death. Congolese authorities should properly investigate and prosecute these crimes and ensure the families and supporters of the case are protected from intimidation and attack.  Read More »

Fashion Forward in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Ties to Persistence and Peace

All across Congo, artists, models, minority groups, and activists are beginning to stitch together a network dedicated to saving the living treasure of their artisanal and creative practices. Although faced with the destruction of war, the Congolese people are showing fashion and art have ties to peace.   Read More »

The Impact of Dodd-Frank and Conflict Minerals Reforms on Eastern Congo’s War

Just four years after enactment of historic Dodd-Frank “conflict minerals” legislation, a new investigative report by the Enough Project identifies early signs of success, with many lucrative mines in eastern Congo no longer controlled by violent armed groups responsible for mass atrocities, rape, and grave violations of human rights. 

Armed Groups Cede Control of Mines in Eastern Congo

Date: 
Jun 10, 2014

For Release: 10 June 2014

Contact: Christina DiPasquale, 202.716.1953, Christina@fitzgibbonmedia.com

 

Enough Project Investigative Report:

Armed Groups Cede Control of Mines in Eastern Congo

Dodd-Frank Rules Push US Companies to Clean Up Conflict Mineral Supply Chains, but Urgent Reforms Needed on Gold

Just four years after enactment of historic Dodd-Frank “conflict minerals” legislation, a new investigative report by the Enough Project identifies early signs of success, as armed groups responsible for mass atrocities, rape, and grave violations of human rights have ceded control of two-thirds of mines surveyed in eastern Congo producing tantalum, tin, and tungsten. 

Enough’s report, by Fidel Bafilemba, Timo Mueller, and Sasha Lezhnev, is the result of 5 months of field research examining 14 mining locations that produce three key minerals used in electronics, autos and an array of other products. While early success is seen in the demilitarization of these “3T” mines, conflict gold is still in need of urgent reform.

“Our research found that electronics companies are expanding their responsible minerals sourcing from Congo, and Congolese miners are now able to earn 40% more from those mines,” said Enough’s Senior Policy Analyst Sasha Lezhnev. “Mines formerly controlled by warlords such as Bosco Ntaganda are now part of peaceful supply chains, as 21 electronics brands and other companies now source from 16 conflict-free mines in Congo. Tech and jewelry companies should further expand these projects and contribute to the new USAID fund for artisanal miners.”

“After years of abusive international extraction of Congo’s resources, the Dodd-Frank law is reforming the way that commercial actors engage in eastern Congo and the region. Responsible businesses are beginning to remove the gasoline that has fueled Congo’s deadly conflicts,” said Enough’s Co-Founder John Prendergast, “but the Congolese army and several other militias continue predatory abuses against civilians.” 

The report, “The Impact of Dodd-Frank and Conflict Minerals Reforms on Eastern Congo’s Conflict,” finds that since the legislation began forcing companies to examine and begin cleaning up their supply chains, and since the Congolese military launched an initial restructuring, armed groups and Congo’s army have ceded control of two-thirds of mines surveyed that produce tantalum, tin, and tungsten in eastern Congo.

“Dodd-Frank has had major impact in eastern Congo by making it much less economically viable for illegal armed groups and the army to exploitatively mine 3 out of the 4 major conflict minerals,” said Enough’s Field Researcher Fidel Bafilemba. “However, U.S. Special Envoy Russ Feingold, the United Nations, and especially now those in jewelry business, must squarely address conflict gold that still funds armed groups responsible for atrocities and grave human rights abuse.”

"The Congolese government, NGOs, and donors should create a miners entrepreneurship fund to empower miners in eastern Congo to expand their small businesses, generate income, and minimize safety risks and abuses known to artisanal mining,” said Enough’s Field Researcher Timo Mueller.

“Without reforming the security sector, militarily engaging the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebel group, introducing real anti-corruption reforms, and committing to free and fair elections, the security situation will remain unstable,” added Prendergast.

The Enough Project publishes conflict mineral company rankings and has worked with companies like Intel to help rid their supply chains of conflict minerals. Enough runs Raise Hope for Congo and the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative.

Link to download the report: http://eno.ug/D-FCongo  

To speak with an Enough Project spokesperson on this topic, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.716.1953 or Christina@fitzgibbonmedia.com.

Additional Resources:

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The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more:  www.enoughproject.org.

Enough Project on Historic Dodd-Frank Conflict Mineral Disclosures to SEC

Date: 
Jun 2, 2014

 

Enough Project on Historic Dodd-Frank Conflict Mineral Disclosures to SEC
US Companies Reveal Today If Products Fund Atrocities

 

Today is the deadline for companies to disclose any conflict minerals in their product supply chains to the Securities and Exchange Commission in compliance with Section 1502 of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

“It’s an historic day in the fight against corporate abuses in supply chains,” said Sasha Lezhnev. “For the first time ever, electronics and other companies are disclosing whether or not rape and mass killing are part of their supply chains. But the conflict in Congo is not over, and we still need to see more action from jewelers and the U.S. government to fight against conflict gold.”

“For years, electronics, jewelry, and other companies turned a blind eye to what was inside their supply chains. With today’s filings to the SEC, they can no longer do that,” said Enough Project co-founder John Prendergast. “From now on, consumers can look under the hood and judge for themselves whether the maker of their smart phone or necklace is getting rid of blood minerals from Congo and make an informed choice when they go shopping.”

“The Dodd-Frank law on conflict minerals has already had a major impact on deadly armed groups in eastern Congo, helping demilitarize 67% of mines for 3 out of 4 conflict minerals and take away lucrative revenue sources from warlords such as ‘The Terminator’ and ‘Cobra’, added Lezhnev. “Today’s disclosures by electronics and other companies help move that process forward. Electronics and jewelry companies now need to move forward and make fully conflict-free products that include certified minerals from Congo.”

As a part of the U.S. Government's Dodd-Frank Act, signed into law in July 2010, Section 1502 requires companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges to trace the sources of their tin, tungsten, tantalum, or gold minerals and disclose whether or not they are sourcing conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo or neighboring countries. The reporting requirements mandate the auditing and disclosure of mineral supply chains, relating to products that use those minerals, and provides the commercial leverage to catalyze reform.

PREDICTED COSTS TO BUSINESSES WERE OVERSTATED

“As companies file, we are finding that their actual costs of implementing Dodd-Frank are much lower than what lobbyists estimated. For a $1 billion company, the real cost of filing is approximately $150,000, according to industry experts Claigan Environmental, continued Lezhnev.” This is in large part due to the fact that most companies can use the industry-wide systems set up by Intel, Motorola Solutions, and industry leaders, particularly the Conflict-Free Smelter Program.”

The Enough Project introduced a new consumer action to demand that electronics and other companies work to build fully conflict-free products and source clean minerals from Congo. Enough publishes conflict mineral company rankings and has worked with companies like Intel and others to rid their product supply chains of conflict minerals fueling the deadly decades-old conflict in the Congo.

The Enough Project also runs campaigns and programs including Raise Hope for Congo and the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative.

To speak with an Enough Project spokesperson on this topic, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.716.1953 or Christina@fitzgibbonmedia.com.

Additional Enough Project Resources:

###

The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more:  www.enoughproject.org.

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