“Violence and sexual violence are nothing new in DRC, but for the victims, these atrocities are not normal… Militia members simply show up, steal what they can and take men and women out of local communities who are then kept captive under the most horrendous conditions for months at a time.” –Ana Maria Tijerino, Médecins Sans Frontières psychologist
How are we connected?
It can be hard for many of us to imagine what it’s like to live in constant fear of exploitation, violence, and forced labor, but this is the everyday reality for many people living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Without knowing it, many of us have a direct link to these atrocities. Mining in the eastern DRC generates millions of dollars for the armed groups that are terrorizing and enslaving these communities. It’s these “conflict minerals” that can end up in a huge range of household products from your phone to your computer, your new gold necklace, and even your furniture.
Fortunately, attention to the issue of conflict minerals is growing—along with willingness from around the world to tackle it.
What we did
The European Union is one of the largest economies in the world, importing hundreds of millions of euros’ worth of goods every day. We collaborated with our partners, including Global Witness and Amnesty International, to call on the E.U. to take a tough stance and require that companies be held accountable for the way they source these goods. This would ensure that they are not unintentionally supporting the modern slavery and exploitation associated with illicit mining in the DRC.
We called on our supporters to tell Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to:
- Introduce legal requirements for companies to identify and eliminate conflict minerals in their supply chain.
- Ensure these rules cover any company potentially importing conflict minerals into the E.U., whether as raw materials or as part of finished products.
On May 20, 2015, the European Parliament voted in favor of a historic new law to tackle the trade in conflict minerals. Thanks to the actions of nearly 300,000 advocates, MEPs called for legislation that would require European companies that source these metals to do so responsibly.
On November 22, 2016, this was followed by an agreement between the Parliament, the Council and Member States on a regulation aimed at stopping the financing of armed groups through the trade in conflict minerals. This encouraged European companies that source tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold to do so responsibly. Read the field report for this campaign here.
We will continue to push decision-makers to address conflict minerals, but we need your help. By donating today, you will enable us to continue fighting slavery in conflict minerals. Can you help us sustain our work?