Monday, February 21, 2011

Are you responsible for violence in the Congo?

The United Nations Organization Mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) – began its mission on 1 July 2010. The new mission has been authorized to use all necessary means to the protect civilians, humanitarian personnel and human rights defenders under imminent threat of physical violence and to support the Government of the DRC in its stabilization and peace consolidation efforts.

Yes, we are at the source of the conflict!

Many of us purchase electronic products for both personal and professional use. There is an important connection between consumer electronic products and violent conflict in Congo. Mass atrocities continue to persist in eastern Congo as myriad armed groups, including the Congolese national army, battle for control over natural resource reserves and prey off local populations. This ongoing war is exacerbating regional instability, giving rise to some of the most heinous violence and sexual abuse in human history, and displacing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.

Congolese mines are often controlled by armed groups and militias. These groups smuggle the minerals out of the country to smelting companies on other continents, which means the origin of the minerals can often be masked even from the company commissioning the product. Even though Congo's president announced a ban on all artisanal mining in eastern Congo last August, the ruling has not been enforced by the country's national military and has even negatively affected the citizens who work in the mines as a main source of income.
The primary minerals extracted from eastern Congo are essential to the electronics devices we use and depend on every day. These minerals are central to the technologies that have allowed our culture to thrive and that drive our businesses, our communications infrastructure, our social engagement, and our national security.


The Enough Project ( has developed a ranking system in an effort to provide consumers with the information they need to purchase responsibly and to encourage companies to continue to move forward in good faith.
According to Raise Hope for Congo more than 5.4 million people have died from the continuous wars that ravage the Congo. The organization urges people to tell companies that they want conflict free products. Go to the website,, to send a message to the 21 major manufacturers of electronic devices urging them to use minerals in their products that are not mined in conflict.

Christ our Peace, our hearts are heavy with grief as we hear of the sufferings of our sisters and brothers in the Democratic Republic of Congo who suffer again from armed conflicts which destroy the peace, safety and very existence of hundreds of thousands of your children. May our hearts and those of all involved in these conflicts heed the words “no more war” and choose instead to work together for a just society where all share in the many gifts of nature and ethnic richness of the Congolese nation. Inspire and move our hearts and minds to act for peace and justice, calling others to be peacemakers and helpers in responding to the needs of the people of Congo. We ask this in your name and through your befriending Spirit, Amen. (from Education for Justice website)

This information is from the Sisters of Charity Federation February Action Alert

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