For Immediate Release
Strategy Paper: Can You Hear Congo Now?
Cell Phones, Conflict Minerals, and the Worst Sexual Violence in the World
WASHINGTON - The
Enough Project at the Center for American Progress today issued a call
to action on "conflict minerals" that are mined in the war-torn
Democratic Republic of Congo, sold by rebel groups to purchase arms,
and serve as a direct cause of widespread sexual violence in that
In a new strategy paper authored by Co-founder John Prendergast,
Enough called for electronics companies to endorse a pledge that they
will manufacture their products without conflict minerals and make
their supply chains subject to a transparent audit. Enough also urged
activists around the world to endorse a similar pledge calling on
companies to examine their business practices. "The deadly nexus in the
Democratic Republic of Congo between conflict, sexual violence, and
resource exploitation is undeniable," notes the strategy paper, Can You Hear Congo Now? Cell Phones, Conflict Minerals, and the Worst Sexual Violence in the World.
(Read the full strategy paper)
The strategy paper notes that most electronics companies and
consumers genuinely do not appreciate the complex chain of events that
ties widespread sexual violence in the Congo with the minerals that
power cell phones, laptops, mp3 players, video games, and digital
cameras. Since research has clearly demonstrated those linkages,
however, the Enough Project believes it is time to understand these
linkages, expose them, and bring this deadly war fuelled by conflict
minerals to an end. Militias and armies responsible for the scourge of
sexual violence in eastern Congo battle for control over conflict
minerals - the ores that produce the tin, tungsten, and tantalum found
in electronic products - and finance themselves through illegal
taxation and illicit trade.
"Because we are all unconsciously part of the problem in Congo, all
of us can consciously become part of the solution," said Mr.
Prendergast. "Collectively, American consumers have enormous leverage
over the companies from which we purchase our electronics. We can
marshal that power to press them to play a positive role to protect and
empower Congo's women."
Visit the Enough Project's blog, Enough Said, for updates on this issue.
The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is "of the people, by the people, and for the people."
Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on crises in Sudan, Chad, eastern Congo, northern Uganda, Somalia, and Zimbabwe. 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. The RAISE Hope for Congo campaign aims to build a permanent and diverse constituency of activists advocating for effective change in eastern Congo, including an end to the long-running conflict and the resulting sexual violence against women and girls, and reforms to reduce trade by rebel groups in conflict minerals