The war over coltan is estimated to be responsible for the deaths of over five million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1998.
Electronics Fund Genocide : We The People Politics
Genocide has been going on in Africa for decades now and, for some reason, they have been able to fund their operations even when countries around the world have backed off and not provided funding for those countries. In 2003, the Kimberely Process Certification Scheme was put into place in which countries could opt into the program where they’d agree to not allow the importing of diamonds that came from conflict areas. In other words, “blood diamonds” could not be purchased in countries that agreed with it. In a few years, this greatly reduced the number of diamonds purchased from conflict areas which limited the funds of these militants.
The same thing has started again, but this time, with the minerals that are used in items such as laptops and cell phones. Coltan and niobium are required for cell phones to function properly because, especially for coltan, it allows for smaller chips to work more effectively which is necessary in tiny cell phones. The downfall of this, though, is that each year, militant groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo make over $180 million a year on the control and trade of mines of all sorts of minerals including the coltan that is necessary for cell phones. In other words, when an American purchases a cell phone, they could be inadvertently funding genocide.
Funny how there was a phone ad directly beside this article…
Regulate Conflict Minerals to Help Save Lives in the Congo
(Tell the SEC that lives are more important than gadgets! Please sign this petition)
No Blood For Gadgets.
In response to the Dodd-Frank Act we helped pass, The Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC) is proposing a number of regulations placed on conflict minerals to require full disclosure, but many mining and electronic companies are encouraging the SEC to loosen its regulations to make it easier for them to trade.
I am immensely concerned that things we use everyday, our phones, our laptops, our game systems, our mp3 players, are FUNDING GENOCIDE. They are contributing to the exploitation, murder, and displacement of so many people and the ongoing internal destruction of people, cultures, families, and a country. I text, listen to music, and check my email all day long. I know so many people who religiously update their electronics, and the rest of us are forced to quite often anyway because of the fast pace of technology and the cheap construction of our purchases. I think there should be full disclosure on the part of electronic companies pertaining to conflict minerals. If conflict minerals are directly linked to rape, murder, and displacement, there doesnt seem to be any other logical option. Its not fair to consumers that they spend hard earned money on products they need in their daily life, and then those same dollar bills fresh out of their wallet go to an electronic company, who is purchasing conflict minerals from militant groups who control and trade mines. Its an outrage. That is not where I want my money to go. My texting is not worth peoples lives. And the worst part? Is that most of us go about our daily lives blissfully unaware of how our world really works. And what its all about. Money. Not Love, not Life, but money. How our world can be turned upside down into a twisted, violent, genocidal nightmare all because of some pieces of paper is beyond me. As activists, we cannot STAND for this. we have to represent a better way. We have to advocate for change.
UNC Charlotte STAND is participating in the Eco Cell Project and recycling old cell phones to raise funds for STAND and the Genocide Intervention Network!!
To turn in phones contact me, Stephanie Mauvlyn Braun, 828-291-6467, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
-phones do not need to be working! If you have old phones or know of anyone who does, send them my way!
The Genocide Behind Your SmartPhone
It takes a lot to snap people out of apathy about Africa’s problems. But in the wake of Live Aid and Save Darfur, a new cause stands on the cusp of going mainstream. It’s the push to make major electronics companies (manufacturers of cell phones, laptops, portable music players, and cameras) disclose whether they use “conflict minerals” — the rare metals that finance civil wars and militia atrocities, most notably in Congo.
The issue of ethical sourcing has long galvanized human-rights groups. In Liberia, Angola, and Sierra Leone, the notorious trade in “blood diamonds” helped fund rebel insurgencies. In Guinea, bauxite sustains a repressive military junta. And fair-labor groups have spent decades documenting the foreign sweatshops that sometimes supply American clothing stores. Yet Congo raises especially disturbing issues for famous tech brand names that fancy themselves responsible corporate citizens.
A key mover behind the Congo campaign is the anti-genocide Enough Project: witness its clever spoof of the famous Apple commercial.
(This video was also on Sarah Silvermans Twitter!) : )
More on Companies associated with conflict minerals!
Also keep in mind that,
- Cell phones include coltan, a mineral extracted in the deep forests of Congo in central Africa, home to the world’s endangered lowland gorillas.
- Fueled by the wordwide cell phone boom, Congo’s out-of-control coltan mining business has in recent years led to a dramatic reduction of animal habitat and the rampant slaughter of great apes for the illegal bush-meat trade.
- Recycling cell phones protects landfills from the many potentially hazardous chemicals found in the phones, including antimony, arsenic, copper, cadmium, lead, and zinc.
Student action needed to end conflict minerals
Would you still buy your cell phones, TVs and laptops knowing the blood, war and rape behind the parts that make up your technology?