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Portland, Oregon Passes Conflict-Free City Resolution

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Portland, Oregon Passes Conflict-Free City Resolution

Posted by Rachel Finn on August 26, 2015

Portland, Oregon Passes Conflict-Free City Resolution

Activists and policymakers are celebrating the Portland City Council’s vote today to enact a policy to ensure that cellular devices and other key communication equipment purchased by the city are not connected to killing, child abductions, or sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The result of over two years of campaigning by local activists led by the Oregon Coalition for Humanity, and an international campaign spearheaded by the Enough Project’s Conflict-Free Cities and Conflict-Free Campus Initiative  the city’s new procurement policy requires that the makers of cellular devices and radio subscriber units to be used by the city be surveyed to determine possible connections to illegal mining and smuggling in eastern Congo by violent armed groups. The policy then states that information will be used to support purchasing products made with conflict-free minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Members of the Oregon Coalition for Humanity gather with Portland City Staff members ahead of the August 26th vote on conflict-free policyAs one of the few cities worldwide to change its procurement policy to favor companies working to make their products conflict-free and support the livelihoods of Congolese miners and their communities, Portland has become a leader in the larger movement to support peace in eastern Congo. In passing the resolution, Portland has leveraged its consumer power as a force for peace, justice, and transparency. Speaking at the vote, Robert Hadley, co-founder of Oregon Coalition for Humanity, said, "A budget is a moral document, and how we spend our money says a lot about who we are as a city."

"When we realized we are connected to the suffering of the people in eastern Congo through the products our city purchases, it was a shock. But that recognition also led us to see a way to play a positive role. Portland is a place of integrity and humanity. Today, all the people of Portland should feel proud, and congratulate our City Council for doing the right thing." – Amanda R. Ulrich, Campaign Director for Portland’s Conflict-Free City Initiative, Oregon Coalition for Humanity

The new policy in Portland builds on the momentum of an international movement that has seen 19 schools, five cities, and two states enact similar conflict-free policies. Click here to view Portland City Council’s new conflict-free policy.

Watch Oregon Coalition for Humanity activists and city officials speak in support of Congo and a Conflict-Free City Resolution at the Portland City Council.

Photo Credit: Amanda Ulrich