The United Nations Mission in the Congo, known by its French acronym MONUC, is once again facing public criticism. An article in today’s Washington Post shows how MONUC’s support for the Congolese army’s operations against rebel groups in eastern Congo continues to support some of the army’s most abusive commanders. Read More »
Across 18 countries, at 103 events, women and men gathered to commemorate International Women’s Day yesterday as part of the Join Me on the Bridge global event sponsored by Women for Women International. Enough’s RAISE Hope for Congo campaign partnered with Women for Women International for the Washington, D.C. event. Read More »
Coming up today we’ll hear about the Conflict in the Congo- in which more than 5 million people have been killed. It’s one of the world’s most under-reported stories… Later we’ll talk with some parenting experts on raising children in a peaceful and productive way…
But first some listener comments about yesterday’s program. All five of the comments were about the last few callers who were urging low income people to go to college and who were defending controversial talk show host Alex Jones….here’s what some listeners had to say…
By Melissa Pistilli—Exclusive to Tantalum investing News
With respect to companies that are responsible for what are now being called conflict minerals, I think the international community must start looking at steps we can take to try to prevent the mineral wealth from the DRC ending up in the hands of those who fund the violence here. —U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
The phrase “conflict minerals” is quickly becoming a much more familiar term as concerned consumers, organizations and politicians begin to raise public awareness of the role the mineral trade plays in fuelling the violence raging in the eastern provinces of the DR Congo.
While the “conflict” in the Congo has been labeled a war, Enough Project Co-Founder John Prendergast recently said it’s actually more “a business based on violent extortion.” Prendergast appropriately dubs it a “mafia-style economy.”
Unfortunately, it is not just the FDLR militia or the Congolese army who profit from this violent business of forced labor and institutionalized rape. Also profiting are the governments of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda as well as the companies that purchase and refine the metals, those that fabricate electronic components such as tantalum capacitors, and those that produce electronic devices like cell phones and laptops.
As controversy over conflict gold and dirty mining escalates, ethical issues are becoming as important for gold as they are for diamonds.
By Rob Bates, Senior Editor -- JCK Online, 3/1/2010 12:00:00 AM
Issue 1: Conflict Gold
Background The conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo has had a higher profile ever since Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's trip to that country last summer. The ongoing war there is considered one of the world's worst, with gruesome reports of rape, sexual violence, and other atrocities. Until now, activists who charge that conflict minerals are funding Congo unrest have focused mostly on minerals used in electronics, rather than gold. But Sasha Lezhnev, of the Enough Project, said that's changing. "Gold is increasing as a problem as its price goes up," he told JCK. He said gold is now the second-biggest contributor to Congo unrest after tin.
Recent news60 Minutes in late November ran a story explicitly linking gold jewelry to the Congo war. Lezhnev said his group plans to survey the major jewelry chains and sellers about how they source their gold. A bill about conflict minerals is under consideration by Congress, but it doesn't mention gold.
The future Lezhnev said conflict-mineral activists would like to see a "Kimberley Process for gold," but some Kimberley Process veterans say that's unlikely. "People use the term 'Kimberley Process' without really knowing what that is," says Jewelers of America chairman Matthew A. Runci. "It's an open question whether that kind of approach can be developed for gold." He said his group is now meeting with gold miners and NGOs to discuss possible solutions. In any event, major companies will be under pressure to show a traceable supply chain.
Thu, Feb 25, 2010
By Melissa Pistilli—Exclusive to Tantalum Investing News
Apple recently published a report on their site addressing how the global powerhouse is taking the responsibility to pressure its suppliers to not only treat their employees fairly, but also ensure conflict minerals are not a part of their products.
The report details a “Supplier Code of Conduct” to which companies are required to adhere as a condition of their contract. The Code deals with such issues as labour, human rights and ethical standards. Compliance is managed “through a rigorous monitoring program” of “factory audits, corrective action plans, and verification measures.”
The Apple report speaks directly to the problems associated with conflict tantalum in its supply chains, saying the company requires its tantalum capacitor suppliers to certify that the materials they use “have been produced through a socially and environmentally responsible process.”
Like Hewlett Packard and many other technology-producing companies, Apple maintains that “the combination of a lengthy supply chain and a refining process makes it difficult to track and trace tantalum from the mine to finished products—a challenge that Apple and others are tackling in a variety of ways.”
However, the United Nations and NGO’s such as Global Witness and the Enough Project have proven otherwise.