Tuesday, February 16, 2010

RAISE Hope for Congo*


The conflict in eastern Congo is being fueled by a multi-million dollar trade in minerals that go into our electronic products. Over five million people have died as a result, and hundreds of thousands of women have been raped over the past decade. The armed groups perpetuating the violence generate an estimated $183 million each year by trading in four main minerals, the 3 Ts and gold. Read full details on the crisis.

Urge your Representative to support legislation for conflict-free cell phones, laptops and other electronics.

Urge your Representative to cosponsor the Congo Conflict Minerals Trade Act of 2009 (HR 4128). The bill will indentify any conflict minerals from Congo imported into the United States. It is the strongest effort to stop the scourge of conflict minerals in Congo.

Contact these influential members of the Foreign Affairs Committee now:

Mike Pence (R-IN)
Email Rep. Pence urging for support
Call (202-225-3021) Rep. Pence’s office directly
Send Rep. Pence a message on Facebook
Tweet Rep. Pence @RepMikePence about conflict mineral legislation (HR 4128)

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
Email Rep. Ros-Lehtinen urging for support
Call (202-225-3931) Rep. Ros-Lehtinen’s office directly
Send Rep. Ros-Lehtinen a message on Facebook
Tweet Rep. Ros-Lehtinen @IRL to support conflict mineral legislation (HR 4128)

Ed Royce (R-CA)
Email Rep. Royce urging for support
Call (202-225-4111) Rep. Royce’s office directly
Send Rep. Royce a message on Facebook

Chris Smith (R-NJ)
Email Rep. Smith urging for support
Call (202-225-3765) Rep. Smith’s office directly
Send Rep. Smith a message on Facebook

Contact Your Own Representative
CALL, CONTACT, or EMAIL your Representatives's office urging him or her to support conflict mineral legislation (HR 4128)

Commit to purchase conflict-free cell phones, laptops and other electronics.

Help us increase demand for conflict-free electronics. Email the electronics industry leaders and urge them to make their products conflict free. The message is clear: “If you take conflict out of your cell phone, I will buy it.”

Urge your school, or other institution to go conflict-free.

Urge your campus or school to go conflict-free. Get your school to pass a resolution that publicly calls on electronics companies to make conflict-free computers and printers for your campus.

Help us grow the conflict-free movement!

Urge your friends to join you in coming clean for Congo.

Publicly call for support of conflict minerals legislation

Write an opinion editorial (op-ed) or letter to the editor of your local paper. Publicly urge your Senators to support conflict mineral legislation. Click here for tips on writing your editorial, or check out our Media Toolkit.

Raise money to support the conflict-free cause.

Millions of people living in Congo are affected by the scourge of conflict minerals. Host a fundraiser and donate the proceeds to strengthen the conflict-free movement. Your contribution will support our Congolese partners on the ground.

Recycle Electronics
Recycle your old electronics

By recycling your old cell phones, computers and other electronic products, you'll cut down on the need for new minerals. Visit electronic recyclers like Eco-Cell for more information.

RAISE Hope for Congo


A Proposal for a Third Party Monitoring & Enforcement Mechanism
By Jason Stearns and Steve Hege
A Compelling Proposal on Conflict Minerals

In early December, Enough participated in a small gathering of organizations working on the connection between conflict and natural resources in eastern Congo, convened by the Center on International Cooperation. The idea behind the workshop was to identify points of consensus particularly related to short to medium term efforts to combat the militarization of mining. Congo specialists Jason Stearns and Steven Hege recently published a proposal that encapsulates much of the thinking from the workshop, available here.

The concept note, “Independent Oversight for Mining in the Eastern Congo? A Proposal for a Third Party Monitoring & Enforcement Mechanism,” posits the need for greater independent oversight of mining and the minerals trade as an important means of supporting wider efforts to demand increased accountability both from companies involved in the trade, as well as the Congolese institutions that are responsible for its regulation.

Importantly, Stearns and Hege underscore the importance of making this independent monitoring team a joint effort between the Congolese government and the international community, and charging it with working together with the Congolese to establish a definition for the illegal trade in minerals. Moreover, they propose merging this mechanism with the burgeoning efforts to develop a map of Congo’s militarized mines, work pioneered by the International Peace Information Service and more recently assigned to U.S. government agencies in a law passed last year. They anticipate the mechanism would cost $3-5 million annually and be funded by international donors. The proposed mechanism would eventually facilitate the handover of its responsibilities to Congolese leadership, and is explicitly framed as one part of a wider effort to formalize the mineral trade.

Given the complexities of the mineral trade and the many powerful vested interests who continue to profit at the expense of Congo’s crisis, it can tempting to say that it’s just too difficult to do something about this problem. This proposal powerfully and succinctly suggests otherwise. It deserves to be widely read and thoughtfully considered.

Daniel Sullivan
Jenn Altoff contributed to this post.
The Enough Project/RAISE Hope for Congo