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Contact: Jonathan Hutson, email@example.com, Mobile: +1-202-386-1618
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As a growing consumer movement demands cell phones and gadgets that are guaranteed to be free of conflict minerals that fuel mass rape by armed groups in eastern Congo, human rights activists see an opportunity to end the exploitation of Congo’s people and the pillaging of its resources.
In a new report, “Congo’s Enough Moment: The Case for Conflict Minerals Certification and Army Reform,” Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast argues that the spotlight of international attention to Congo and widespread interest in conflict minerals has opened a window for policy reform.
“The new U.S. law on conflict minerals and the growing, global campaign have shaken up the supply chain, and many of those who have been profiting now say they are willing to change,” says Prendergast. “Now the U.S. government and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton must help leverage the end of the war in eastern Congo through leadership on two of the issues that will catalyze a broader solution to the cycles of violence there: minerals certification and comprehensive army reform.”
“The objective of minerals certification is to change the commercial calculus from violence to stability, from smuggling to legality, from collapsed state to rebuilding state, from private bank accounts to public revenues,” says Prendergast. He argues that a regional effort to create a system that improves on the model developed ten years ago to stop the blood diamonds that fueled wars in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Angola merits sustained support.
Prendergast also argues that security sector reform is crucial, and that three keys to army reform are troop training, including in human rights law; adequate and reliable payment of troops; and holding soldiers accountable for war crimes and other crimes against civilian populations.
“There needs to be real accountability for commanders and armed group leaders, and their troops, not an atmosphere of impunity in the face of human rights crimes,” says Prendergast. “This requires serious investigations, naming and shaming, and prosecuting those that deserve it.”
Read the report, “Congo’s Enough Moment: The Case for Conflict Minerals Certification and Army Reform.”
Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, the Enough Project focuses on crises in Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas of Africa affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, please visit www.enoughproject.org.