Eastern Congo

Progress and Challenges on Conflict Minerals: Facts on Dodd-Frank 1502

 

Miners in Eastern Congo

Minerals and Conflict

Justine Masika Bihamba

"10 years ago, we were under de facto control of armed groups...today, let's admit we are a long way from that. And if we’re honest, that’s in part because of Dodd-Frank – it came to shine the light on those illicit actors. Today, despite the problems with governance, you can feel more government control.Justine Masika Bihamba, Coordinator of the organization Synergy of Women for Victims of Sexual Violence

Conflict minerals have fueled and continue to help sustain armed violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo), linking them to the deadliest conflict globally since World War II.The four conflict minerals (gold, along with tin, tantalum, and tungsten, the “3Ts”) are not the only source of income to armed groups, but they are some of the most lucrative. The illegal exploitation of natural resources today is a manifestation of the grand corruption linked to violence that has marked successive governments in Kinshasa and the broader region since colonial times.

  • The U.N. Group of Experts on Congo found in 2015 that gold continued to be a source of funding for armed groups and Congo’s army.[1] A study from the Enough Project found that armed groups made an estimated $185 million from conflict minerals in 2008.[2] In 2007 the Pole Institute noted “minerals are a major source of income and of conflict in North Kivu as in the whole of the DRC,”[3] and in 2001 the UN experts found that “minerals [were] the engine of the conflict.”[4]
  • A mortality study by the International Rescue Committee looking at conflict-related deaths between August 1998 and April 2007 estimated that more than 5.4 million people died as a result of armed conflict in Congo.[5] There has been continuing violence since that study, but no definitive follow up has been conducted on the mortality toll.

 

The Law

Dr. Denis Mukwege

"A conflict-free minerals industry would contribute to ending the unspeakable violence the people of Congo have endured for years.” Dr. Denis Mukwege, Founder and Medical Director of Panzi Hospital

Section 1502 on conflict minerals of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is a transparency measure, one part of a comprehensive approach to Congo’s challenges. Passed in 2010 and implemented by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2012, it creates a reporting requirement for all companies publicly traded in the United States with products containing any of the four conflict minerals. This creates a lever to support transparency, security, and the rule of law in the mining sector. Companies must now publicly disclose annually whether any of the gold or 3Ts in their supply chains originated in Congo or a neighboring country and, if so, describe the due diligence measures taken to determine the source of the minerals. Dodd-Frank 1502 does not require companies to divest from Congo or source from conflict-free mines. The law only requires companies to report on their mineral sourcing and due diligence practices.

  • The cost of compliance has been significantly overestimated by industry lobbyists. Claigan, an independent environmental consulting firm with expertise in supply chain management, estimates the total cost of Dodd-Frank 1502 compliance was approximately $140 million for 2014.[6] This is a fraction of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s estimate of $3-4 billion for the first year.[7]

“In 2014, we educated suppliers who mistakenly believed that CFSP-compliant smelters are, by definition, not sourcing from the Covered Countries, or whose conflict minerals policies indicated that they intend not to source from the Covered Countries at all.” – EMC Corporation (Source: Conflict Minerals Report 2014)

Impact

Consistent with its objective, Dodd-Frank 1502 along with related reforms has led to significant improvements in the transparency of corporate supply chains and to a major reduction in the number of 3T conflict mines in eastern Congo. More than 60 percent of the world’s smelters for the four minerals have now passed conflict-free audits.  Before Dodd-Frank 1502, there was no certification mechanism for distinguishing conflict mines (i.e. mines controlled by armed groups or the Congolese army) from conflict-free mines, and there were no federal transparency requirements for companies on conflict minerals. The law and related reforms have changed these circumstances and created a two-tier market whereby the price for untraceable 3T conflict minerals is significantly lower than the price for verified conflict-free minerals. This price difference has made the trade in 3T minerals significantly less lucrative for armed groups.

 

PROGRESS

 

 

Number of conflict free mines: 141 (as of August 2015)

 

 

Number of refiners that have passed audits: 209 (as of January 29, 2015)

 

  • By 2014, the International Peace Information Service found that 70 percent of 3T mines it surveyed across several provinces in eastern Congo were not controlled by armed actors.[8] This is a significant change given that the U.N. Group of Experts stated as recently as 2010 that “in the Kivu provinces, almost every mining deposit [was] controlled by a military group.”[9] As of May 2014, nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of 3T miners were working in mines where no armed group involvement has been reported.[10]
  • Today, 209 out of approximately 330 smelters/refiners worldwide (over 60 percent) for the four conflict minerals have passed audits by the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative or associated programs, and an additional 47 smelters/refiners are participating in the program (i.e. are in the process of being audited) for a total of 256 participants (over 75 percent).[11]
  • There is now an emerging certification mechanism run by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), and mines have begun to be validated as conflict-free.[12] As of June 25, 2015, 141 mines in eastern Congo had been validated as conflict-free by multi-stakeholder teams made up of U.N. officials and Congolese civil society, business, and government representatives.[13]
  • In surveyed locations, “minerals that do not go through conflict-free programs sell for 30 to 60 percent less” than minerals verified as conflict-free,[14] thus reducing profits for armed group trying to sell conflict minerals.

 

"...Alcatel-Lucent does not want to prevent its suppliers from sourcing from legitimate mines located within the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its neighboring countries (as doing so could be detrimental to the legitimate economies and populations of those countries).” – Alcatel-Lucent (Source: Conflict Minerals Report 2013)

Mining Communities

Dodd-Frank 1502 must be fully implemented, not abandoned, and strengthened with livelihood projects and other support to mining communities. Similar to other places where black markets are being disrupted, many Congolese miners who have relied on 3T mining have been affected by the transition to a conflict-free economy and are experiencing livelihood challenges. The original conflict minerals draft legislation included resources for livelihood programs for mining communities, but unfortunately those provisions were omitted from the final law and thus resources were not forthcoming in a timely way, causing hardship for some communities. Some aid has been disbursed to support conflict-free mining, but more support for livelihoods projects is needed. The solution to uncovering and eliminating these harmful illicit markets is not to reduce transparency measures but rather to strengthen and expand them.

  • Livelihood projects should include alternative livelihoods programs and artisanal mining support. Project planning should involve concerted community consultations and decision-making, and projects should encompass microfinance programs, programs to increase women’s accessibility to mining and other livelihoods, and transition programs for child miners. Projects should also include aid for the formalization of artisanal mining—including the demarcation of artisanal mining zones, validation of more conflict-free mines, capacity building for mining cooperatives, provision of equipment, and development of safety standards for miners. [15]
  • Section 5 of the original “Conflict Minerals Trade Act” (introduced on Nov. 11, 2009) included provisions for livelihood support.[16] Since that time, the Enough Project has repeatedly called on the United Nations, the United States, and other governments to engage in a process of dialogue and reform in Congo that is broadly inclusive of Congolese civil society, business, and government representatives.[17]

Congolese Support

Archbishop Francois Rusengo

"Armed men have been free to exploit minerals away from any eyes. The formula for exploitation has been to attack civilians. To do that, they harm the women. When women are raped, the men are forced to flee, the children can’t survive, and the village is abandoned - then the area is free for exploitation.” Archbishop Francois Rusengo, Archbishop of Bukavu, South Kivu

Many Congolese communities and leaders—including Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Sakharov Prize winner Dr. Denis Mukwege, community activist Justine Masika Bihamba, and Archbishop François-Xavier Maroy Rusengo of Bukavu, South Kivu—support Dodd-Frank 1502. Leaders and activists support the law because they have seen direct positive impacts, because they believe in transparency and the rule of law, or both.

  • Dr. Denis Mukwege: "A conflict-free minerals industry would contribute to ending the unspeakable violence the people of Congo have endured for years. Government must not only enact strong legislation, they must be willing to enforce the law. Companies bear the responsibility of compliance and public disclosure, and acting transparently as consumers are increasingly aware of conflict-free components on the market. Tens of thousands of legitimate miners would benefit from a clean, transparent minerals industry…The mineral trade is one of the components that drive suffering in Congo.”[18]
  • Open letter signed by 31 Congolese civil society leaders, experts, and former ambassadors: “It is time for another broader push for reform on conflict minerals and natural resource governance in order to complement the Dodd-Frank legislation and deepen related minerals reforms. Dodd-Frank has been the primary driver of corporate and regional policy change on conflict minerals.”[19]

 


WATCH: Conflict Minerals Legislation - View from Eastern Congo

Congolese miners and human rights activists speak about the impact of Dodd-Frank in Congo in this video from 2012.

 

More Resources and Information

 


Citations

[1] U.N. Security Council, “Final report of the Group of Experts submitted in accordance with paragraph 5 of Security Council resolution 2136 (2014),” S/2015/19, paras. 79, 80, 116, 124, 125, 193-198, 200, 201; Annex 36, January 12, 2015, available at http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2015/19.

[2] The Enough Project Team and the Grassroots Reconciliation Group, “A Comprehensive Approach to Congo’s Conflict Minerals,” Appendix 2, p. 17 (Washington: April 2009), available at http://www.enoughproject.org/publications/comprehensive-approach-conflict-minerals-strategy-paper.

[3] Aloys Tegera and Dominic Johnson, “Rules for Sale: Formal and informal cross-border trade in Eastern DRC,” p. 40 (Goma: Pole Institute, May 2007), available at http://www.pole-institute.org/sites/default/files/regard19_anglais.pdf.

[4] U.N. Security Council, “Final report of the Group of Experts submitted in accordance with paragraph 5 of Security Council resolution 2136 (2014),” S/2015/19, paras. 79, 80, 116, 124, 125, 193-198, 200, 201; Annex 36, January 12, 2015, available at http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2015/19.

[5] Benjamin Coghlan, Pascal Ngoy, Flavien Mulumba, Colleen Hardy, Valerie Nkamgang Bemo, Tony Stewart, Jennifer Lewis, and Richard Brennan, “Mortality in the Democratic Republic of Congo: An ongoing crisis,” pp. ii, 16 (New York: International Rescue Committee, January 2008), available at http://www.rescue.org/sites/default/files/resource-file/2006-7_congoMortalitySurvey.pdf.

[6] Email correspondence with Claigan, August 2015.

[7] U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Release No. 34-67716, p. 302, August 22, 2012, available at http://www.sec.gov/rules/final/2012/34-67716.pdf.

[8] Between March 2013 and March 2014, International Peace Information Service (IPIS) researchers conducted research to map artisanal mining sites in eastern Congo. IPIS researchers found 116 of 167 cassiterite mines (70 percent), 26 of 31 coltan mines (84 percent), and 11 of 21 wolframite mines (52 percent) to be free of armed groups, making a total of 153 of 219 mines surveyed (70 percent) free of armed groups in eastern Congo. By contrast, IPIS survey results showed inverted proportions for eastern Congo’s gold mines, with only 330 of 943 gold mines (35 percent) surveyed free of armed actors. International Peace Information Service, “Infographic-Mapping Mining Areas in Eastern DRC,” January 28, 2015, available at http://ipisresearch.be/2015/01/infographic-mapping-security-human-rights-mining-areas-eastern-drc/.

[9] U.N. Security Council, “Interim report of the Group of Experts on the DRC,” S/2010/252, para. 77, p.17, May 24, 2010, available at http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2010/252.

[10] Steven Spittaels, Ken Matthysen, Yannick Weyns, Filip Hilgert and Anna Bulzomi, “Analysis of the interactive map of artisanal mining areas in Eastern DR Congo: May 2014 update” (Antwerp: International Peace Information Service, May 2014), available at http://ipisresearch.be/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/20141031-Promines_analysis.pdf.

[11] Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition and Global eSustainability Initiative, “Conflict-Free Smelter Program Indicators,” available at http://www.conflictfreesourcing.org/members/active-and-compliant-smelter-count/ (last accessed January 29, 2016).

[12] International Conference on the Great Lakes Region Mineral Certification Scheme, “ICGLR Regional Certification Mechanism (RCM) Certification Manual,” available at http://www.oecd.org/investment/mne/49111368.pdf (last accessed August 2015).

[13] Uwe Naeher and Yasmine Nzuma, “Summary of Joint Missions and CTC Mine Site Audits in Eastern DRC,” Federal Bureau of Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), Kinshasa, June 2015.

[14]  Fidel Bafilemba, Timo Mueller, and Sasha Lezhnev, “The Impact of Dodd-Frank and Conflict Minerals Reforms on Eastern Congo’s Conflict,” endnote 5, p. 20 (Washington: The Enough Project, June 2014), available at http://www.enoughproject.org/reports/impact-dodd-frank-and-conflict-minerals-reforms-eastern-congo’s-war.

[15] Fidel Bafilemba and Sasha Lezhnev, “Congo’s Conflict Gold Rush: Bringing gold into the legal trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” pp 15-17 (Washington: The Enough Project, April 2015), available at http://www.enoughproject.org/reports/congo%E2%80%99s-conflict-gold-rush; Holly Dranginis, “Doing Good, while Doing Well: Is There a Win-Win Formula for Investing Responsibly in Congo’s Minerals Sector?” pp. 5, 7 (Washington: The Enough Project, July 2014), available at http://www.enoughproject.org/reports/doing-good-while-doing-well.

[16] Conflict Minerals Trade Act, H.R.4128 111th Congress (2009-2010), section 5, “Sense of Congress on Assistance for Affected Communities and Sustainable Livelihoods,” available at https://www.congress.gov/bill/111th-congress/house-bill/4128/text?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22conflict+minerals+trade+act%22%5D%7D.

[17] The Enough Project Team and the Grassroots Reconciliation Group, “A Comprehensive Approach to Congo’s Conflict Minerals”; John Prendergast and Sasha Lezhnev, “Opinion: Electronics companies and consumers can help stop Congolese bloodshed,” San Jose Mercury News, July 28, 2009, available at http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_12931613; Enough Project, “Conflict Minerals: A Broader Push for Reform is Essential,” available at http://www.enoughproject.org/special-topics/conflict-minerals-broader-push-reform-essential.

[18] Panzi Foundation, “Statement from Dr. Denis Mukwege: EU Vote is a Victory for Human Rights,” May 20, 2015, available at http://www.panzifoundation.org/news/dr-mukwege-statement-eu-conflict-minerals-vote.

[19] “Open Letter: Conflict Minerals: A Broader Push for Reform is Essential,” October 30, 2014, available at http://www.enoughproject.org/files/OpenLetterConflictMinerals_October_2014.pdf.

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.

U.S. Begins Targeted Sanctions on Kabila Regime, Should Continue Until Timely Elections Scheduled

Date: 
Jun 23, 2016

Kinshasa Police Commissioner Célestin Kanyama, responsible for repression, sanctioned; U.S. and E.U. should follow with additional financial pressure if elections not scheduled, repression not halted

Today, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) placed General Célestin Kanyama, the Police Commissioner of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital city Kinshasa, on its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List. General Kanyama has been linked to at least three police operations that used excessive force, including “Operation Likofi” in which police summarily killed at least 51 youth and forcibly disappeared 33 others during an anti-crime campaign from November 2013 to January 2014, as well as deadly attacks on peaceful protestors in October 2015.

Enough Project experts are available for comment and analysis.

Holly Dranginis, Senior Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, said: “The chief of police is often a key tool in the machinery of a government determined to silence its people. Kanyama is accused of orchestrating a sinister set of crackdowns against Congolese civilians over the past two years, ratcheting up fear ahead of Kabila's possible third term. Activists and insiders are speaking up anyway, demanding a peaceful transition of power. Today's sanctions action is exactly the kind of enforcement step needed to complement the work of those communities on the frontlines, and send a message to Kabila's regime that abusive behavior will have consequences.”

Sasha Lezhnev, Associate Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “Today's sanctions announcement is the first spark to light a fire under the Kabila government to hold elections in a timely manner and halt repression. If Kabila fails to organize timely elections, more and more members of his inner circle should be designated for asset freezes and visa bans, and the European Union should follow suit.”

John Prendergast, Founding Director at the Enough Project, said: “In order for this welcome step of sanctioning Kanyama to be meaningful and have the desired impact, we must see vigorous and immediate implementation through identification and blocking of his assets. Kanyama and those around him must feel it. Sanctions, however, are only one tool that the United States and others in the international community should bring to bear to stop the regime's quest to stay in power. The use of anti-money laundering provisions, anti-corruption investigations, and steps to condition donor assistance must also be deployed in the service of democracy and peace in Congo.”

DRC President Joseph Kabila has been criticized for undermining the country’s constitution, including the attempted removal of presidential term limits, delays in scheduled elections, and violent crackdowns on peaceful demonstrations.

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact:
Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.

Foreign Affairs Op-ed: Congo's Kabila Problem

Congolese President Joseph Kabila

In July of last year, U.S. President Barack Obama gave a landmark speech at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, criticizing leaders who undemocratically change their constitutions to stay in power and emphasizing that the United States would call out such behavior. He pointed to Burundi where a few months earlier, President Pierre Nkurunziza pressured the courts to change the constitution’s term limits so that he could run for a third time. Obama warned that such a tactic could trigger “instability and strife,” as well as hamper “Africa’s democratic progress.” But his words seem to have fallen on deaf ears.  Read More »

The Hill Op-ed: Why the House Must Stop the Last-second FSGG Rider on Conflict Minerals

Yesterday, Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) filed an 11th hour amendment to the financial services appropriations bill to de-fund enforcement of the conflict minerals provision in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The amendment was adopted by the House Rules Committee and will go to the House floor for a vote today.  Read More »

New Congressional Resolutions: U.S. should use Financial Tools to support Free and Fair Elections in Congo

Congolese President Joseph Kabila

On June 13, key Members of the House of Representatives introduced a Resolution calling on the Obama Administration to impose targeted sanctions and leverage other financial pressure as one way to support  the constitution of the the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  Read More »

“Historic”: ICC sentences Jean-Pierre Bemba to 18 years in prison

Date: 
Jun 21, 2016

 

Enough Project experts available for comment and analysis

Today, the International Criminal Court (ICC) sentenced Jean-Pierre Bemba to 18 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Experts at the Enough Project have been following the case and are available for comment and analysis.

Holly Dranginis, Senior Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, said: "Bemba’s sentencing decision will impact communities all over central Africa, and the future of international criminal trials. It is historic on a few levels, this was the first time the court decided an appropriate punishment for gender-based violence -- in this case, brutal rapes committed by Bemba's troops against women and children. Bemba is also the highest-level official the court has ever sentenced, helping pave a path for the court to prosecute more government officials who oversee abuses by their troops. The hope is that with each new condemnation, the ICC can gradually extinguish the climate of impunity that still prevails for grave crimes, especially by official state actors, and especially against women."

In March, Bemba was convicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity including rape, murder, and pillage committed during armed conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) in 2002 and 2003.

Nathalia Dukhan, Field Researcher and Analyst for the Enough Project, said: "Today's verdict represents a real hope for many war victims seeking justice, particularly in countries experiencing long-lasting conflicts that are failing to address impunity. For many Central Africans, this verdict is only partial and leaves justice unfinished. Warlords involved in the 2002- 2003 coup in CAR who have not been convicted by the ICC have backslided in the 2013 crisis, leaving thousands of new victims behind."

Bemba is a former leader of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), an armed rebel group that committed widespread sexual violence and pillage during a military campaign to help defend the former president of CAR, Ange-Félix Patassé, from a coup attempt. 

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact:
Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org

Charcoal 101

The illegal charcoal trade in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo) has become one of the most lucrative enterprise for Congo’s most notorious and stalwart rebel group, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). In addition to financing ongoing armed conflict, the charcoal trade is threatening Virunga, Africa’s oldest national park and a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

New Report: How an Illegal Charcoal Trade is Threatening Africa’s Oldest National Park

Based on extensive field interviews with UN officials, charcoal traders, leading Congolese conservationists and whistleblowers, and local and international law enforcement officials, Enough's newest report explains how the illegal trade works and offers specific policy recommendations aimed at ending the trade and providing alternative fuels.  Read More »

Une organisation criminelle multimillionnaire détruit de vastes étendues du parc des Virunga pour son charbon de bois

Date: 
Jun 20, 2016

 

Click here to read this press release in English.

Un rapport fracassant de l’Enough Project révèle les opérations mafieuses d’un groupe rebelle congolais : un commerce transfrontalier illégal de charbon de bois marqué par des meurtres abominables, des réseaux d’espions et la complicité de la police et de fonctionnaires, au rythme du saccage de forêts anciennes.

Un nouveau rapport fracassant d’Enough Project, organisme de promotion des politiques de prévention des atrocités, révèle que de vastes pans de la forêt ancienne des Virunga, le plus ancien parc national d’Afrique, sont détruits par une organisation mafieuse n’hésitant pas à recourir à la violence qui brasse des millions grâce au commerce illégal de charbon de bois (Lien vers le résumé, version Francaise).

Le rapport d’Holly Dranginis, analyste politique principale de l’Enough Project, intitulé « The Mafia in the Park: A charcoal syndicate is threatening Virunga, Africa's oldest national park » (Mafia dans les Virunga : un cartel de charbon de bois menace le plus ancien parc national d'Afrique), examine de près la montée des affaires criminelles menées par les FDLR, un groupe rebelle armé lié au génocide rwandais. Ses activités sont marquées par des meurtres abominables, des réseaux d’espionnage et des trafics transfrontaliers, lesquels, comme le souligne le rapport, se font avec la complicité de la police, de l’armée et de représentants du gouvernement corrompus.

Selon Holly Dranginis, auteure du rapport et analyste politique principale de l’Enough Project, « La consolidation de la paix en République démocratique du Congo (RDC) est vouée à l’échec si l’on ne lutte pas contre les réseaux commerciaux complexes opérant dans l’Est. Le trafic de charbon de bois n’en est qu’un parmi tant d’autres, mais il fournit des financements importants aux FDLR, reflète l’impunité rampante des responsables publics impliqués dans des activités criminelles, et se déroule dans une clandestinité et une violence propres aux mafias rappelant les pires cartels de drogues latino-américains. »

John Prendergast, Directeur fondateur de l’Enough Project, estime que « Le commerce illégal de charbon de bois et ses dangereux barons sont les symptômes d’un système plus vaste de vol, de corruption et d’exploitation devenu systématique en RDC. Loin d’être un cas isolé, ce commerce se distingue néanmoins par les dégâts qu’il cause – non seulement envers l’un des endroits jouissant de l’une des plus riches biodiversités au monde, mais également envers la sécurité humaine et l’État de droit. Les interventions politiques doivent être rapides, anticipées et doivent impliquer tous les individus et toutes les organisations se trouvant aux premières lignes de la crise. Une meilleure compréhension des liens existant entre les acteurs étatiques et non étatiques renforcerait l’efficacité des interventions de lutte contre les réseaux criminels à grande échelle, dans toute la région ».

Le précieux charbon de bois des Virunga, appelé Ndobo, est obtenu en coupant et en brûlant les arbres centenaires du parc. Comme le souligne le rapport, la destruction de ces forêts a des conséquences dévastatrices pour les gardes forestiers, les communautés locales et les espèces en voie d’extinction telles que les gorilles et les éléphants.

Holly Dranginis ajoute : « Le commerce criminel du charbon de bois des Virunga fait disparaître des pans entiers de forêts tropicales rares et anciennes, essentielles à la sécurité climatique et aux espèces menacées dans la région. Un travail héroïque est déjà en cours pour aider à protéger les Virunga. Mais le temps presse pour lutter contre le commerce du charbon de bois, actif depuis des années et contre lequel peu d’interventions ont réussi. »

S’étendant sur près de 3 000 mètres carrés dans le nord-est du Congo, les Virunga sont le plus ancien parc national d’Afrique et inscrits au patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO. Pareille à celle d’aucun autre site protégé d’Afrique, la biodiversité des Virunga abrite des espèces d’oiseaux rares, quelques-uns des derniers gorilles des montagnes, et des éléphants de forêt menacés d’extinction. Le parc a récemment attiré l’attention en faisant l’objet du documentaire « Virunga », produit par Leonardo DiCaprio et nommé aux Oscars de 2014.

Éléments clés du rapport :

  • Le groupe rebelle armé connu sous le nom de « Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR) » représente le pivot des réseaux de criminalité organisée dans la région des Grands Lacs et continue à menacer la sécurité des populations. Depuis des années, ce groupe finance ses activités en exploitant des ressources naturelles précieuses, dont des minéraux, mais aussi l’ivoire, le poisson et la marijuana. Mais l’une des activités les plus rémunératrices des FDLR est le commerce illicite du charbon de bois dans le Parc national des Virunga, trésor de la République démocratique du Congo.
     
  • Établi dans les profondeurs de la zone sud-ouest des Virunga, le commerce illégal du charbon de bois est lucratif. D’après certaines estimations, il rapporterait chaque année jusqu’à 35 millions de dollars. Comme l’a avancé l’un des gardes forestiers à Enough, « les groupes armés ont fait des Virunga leur sanctuaire ».
     
  • « Ce ne sont pas seulement les FDLR, précise une source, ce sont la police, les politiciens, et les hommes d’affaires. C’est un grand réseau mafieux. » Certains commandants de la police nationale et de l’armée congolaise sont impliqués dans le commerce illégal du charbon de bois. Ils touchent des revenus considérables, car ils partagent les recettes des FDLR et organisent aussi leur propre production, ainsi que le trafic et la taxation du charbon illégal. Plusieurs représentants de l’État offrent une protection indispensable aux commandants et aux officiers des FDLR dans les Virunga.
     
  • La prévalence du trafic illégal du charbon de bois issu des Virunga : pour beaucoup, le charbon de bois est une affaire purement congolaise, mais des témoignages ont révélé que le charbon de bois des Virunga était acheminé aussi loin qu’en Ouganda et au Rwanda.
     
  • Les violations directes des droits de l’homme communément pratiquées par les cartels illégaux de charbon de bois comprennent des meurtres commis en représailles, de l’esclavage sexuel, et des formes extrêmes de travail forcé.

Recommandations clés du rapport :

  1. Les décideurs ne devraient pas considérer les FDLR comme une menace purement militaire, politique ou idéologique : il s’agit aussi d’un réseau de criminalité organisée à but lucratif qui s’appuie sur des collaborateurs situés au sein du gouvernement et de la société civile. Pour lutter contre la criminalité organisée du charbon de bois en RDC, il faut poursuivre et sanctionner les hauts responsables des FDLR et leurs partenaires de l’armée pour leur rôle dans ce commerce illégal. Les autorités devraient faciliter les défections des soldats de grade inférieur des FDLR dans les Virunga, pour priver les trafiquants d’une main-d’œuvre essentielle.
  2. Les foyers de la région étant largement dépendants du charbon de bois, utilisé comme premier combustible, les actions visant à mettre fin à son commerce, telles que les interventions militaires et les arrestations ciblées, doivent s’accompagner de mesures portant sur d’autres types de combustibles, afin d’éviter une pénurie qui toucherait des millions de personnes dans la région.
  3. Protection des défenseurs : les unités de la MONUSCO chargées de la justice et des droits de l’homme doivent renforcer le suivi et le soutien des militants de la conservation, lesquels sont ciblés en raison de leurs actions de défense des parcs nationaux en RDC et de leurs investigations sur les crimes environnementaux, et soumettre les cas d’abus aux juges pour enquête.
  4. Le Congrès américain devrait adopter la loi S.284 – Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, qui donnerait aux États-Unis le pouvoir de sanctionner quiconque commettrait des exactions à l’encontre de personnes cherchant à révéler des activités gouvernementales illégales. Il devrait également adopter la loi concernant la lutte contre le trafic d’espèces sauvages, H.R. 2494, qui autoriserait une assistance technique visant à protéger les gardes forestiers et à améliorer les réponses juridiques en cas d’attaques contre des défenseurs de la forêt.
  5. La Cour pénale internationale (CPI) dans le cadre des poursuites engagées actuellement contre le commandant suprême des FDLR, Sylvestre Mudacumura, le Bureau du procureur de la Cour pénale internationale (CPI) devrait enquêter sur les responsabilités et le contrôle exercé par Mudacumura sur les activités commerciales des FDLR – et notamment sur les cartels du charbon – et ajouter aux poursuites des chefs d’accusation relatifs au pillage des ressources naturelles si des preuves suffisantes sont présentées.
  6. Interventions militaires : à mesure que se développent des plans pour des opérations conjointes de l’armée congolaise et de la MONUSCO, les Envoyés spéciaux Said Djinnit et Tom Perriello devraient encourager des actions conjointes ciblées contre les bastions des FDLR dans les Virunga, en incluant les plans mis au point par la MONUSCO pour viser les plateformes du trafic de charbon et y appréhender les principaux chefs des FDLR.
  7. Efforts de démobilisation : puisque la MONUSCO envisage de collaborer avec l’armée congolaise en vue de relancer des opérations conjointes contre les FDLR, elle devrait poursuivre ses efforts en matière de désarmement, démobilisation, rapatriement, réintégration et réinstallation (DDR/RR) des combattants des FDLR dans les Virunga.

Lien vers le résumé, version Francaise: http://eno.ug/28LVAbe

Lien vers le rapport complet : http://eno.ug/1YwPVcF

Pour toute requête de la part de médias ou demande d’entretien, veuillez contacter : Greg Hittelman, Directeur de la Communication,+1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org

À propos de THE ENOUGH PROJECT
Organisme de promotion des politiques de prévention des atrocités, l’Enough Project cherche à mobiliser les efforts en faveur de la paix et de la justice en Afrique en s’efforçant d’appliquer des sanctions contre les auteurs et les complices de génocides et d’autres atrocités de masse. Enough lutte contre les régimes kleptocrates violents et les groupes armés portant atteinte aux droits, alimentés par la grande corruption, la criminalité et la terreur à l’échelle internationale, ainsi que le pillage et le trafic de minéraux, d’ivoire, de diamants et d’autres ressources naturelles. Enough mène des enquêtes de terrain dans les zones de conflits, élabore des recommandations politiques en faveur desquelles il plaide, soutient des mouvements sociaux dans les pays touchés par des conflits et organise des campagnes publiques. Pour en savoir plus et nous rejoindre, rendez-vous sur www.EnoughProject.org.

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