Like many around the globe, women across crisis zones in east and central Africa are subject to sexual and gender-based violence. In the Democratic Republic of Congo particularly, SGBV is a disturbing feature of the country’s decades-long conflict as it is continually used as a weapon of war. Today, on International Women’s Day, the Enough Project is highlighting the vulnerable security situation for the women in eastern Congo’s mining areas.
In Congo, minerals like tungsten, tantalum, and tin, as well as gold, and other resources fund and motivate armed groups to use rape, sexual torture, and enslavement to gain control over territory and trading routes. Women are subjected to violence perpetrated by armed groups and the army, and reports of sexual assault are extremely common in the mining areas. Transforming eastern Congo’s minerals sector into a conflict-free trade, therefore, is critical part of the effort to combat sexual violence in the region.
Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Conflict Minerals Rule have begun to help break links between the minerals trade and violent conflict in eastern Congo. The Rule has improved global minerals supply chain transparency, and the conflict-free minerals trade has been slowly but steadily increasing in recent years. Enough Project’s Sasha Lezhnev recently said, “It has been the backbone of reform in the minerals trade in the region, helping build up rule of law.”
- Click here to read “Boom Town: What happened when Wall Street reform came to Congo’s frontier mining towns”
- Click here to read “Interrupting the Silence: Addressing Congo’s Sexual Violence Crisis within the Great Lakes Regional Peace Process”
- Click here to read the Enough Project’s comment to the SEC in support of the Conflict Minerals Rule implementation
- Click here to read “Point of Origin: Status Report on the Impact of Dodd-Frank 1502 in Congo”
- Click here to read "Eight Letters from Local Civil Society Groups in Support of the U.S. Conflict Minerals Law"