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How British Corporations are Fuelling War in the Congo: Robert Miller

© Unknown photographer

The Vile Scramble For Loot

How British Corporations are Fuelling War in the Congo

by Robert Miller, November 19, 2009


The Democratic Republic of Congo is suffering what is almost certainly the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. In their 2007 study of mortality rates in the DRC the International Rescue Committee estimated that, as a result of the war, "5.4 million excess deaths have occurred between August 1998 and April 2007." The IRC report also estimated that the "DR Congo's national crude mortality rate (CMR) of 2.2 deaths per 1,000 per month is 57 percent higher than the average rate for sub-Saharan Africa", and in eastern provinces, which are the most violent, the CMR is "2.6 deaths per 1,000 per month, a rate that is 85 percent higher than the sub-Saharan average." [1 The charity "Raise Hope for Congo" reports that "45,000 people die each month [in Eastern Congo], mostly from hunger and disease resulting from the ongoing conflict, and over 1 million people have been displaced." [2 That is approximately 1,500 deaths a day, 62 deaths an hour and a death every minute. If you take the figure of 45,000 deaths a month as constant then at the time of writing (November 2009), 1,350,000 people have died as a result of the war in Eastern Congo since the IRC published its study. That would put the total amount of excess deaths at 6,750,000 (6.75 million). _

According to the British charity Save the Congo, "You could take all lives lost in Bosnia, Rwanda 1994 [sic] and Darfur then add the 2005 Asian tsunami, then add a 9-11 every single day for 356 days and then go through Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Put all of those together, multiply by 2 and you still don't reach the number of lives that has been lost in the Congo since the war started." They also say that "[hundreds of thousands] of women and young girls have been brutally gang raped and around 40% of all adult women have been made widows."[3]_

All over Eastern Congo there are wards "full of women who have been gang-raped and then shot in the vagina." According to Dr Denis Mukwege, "Around ten percent of the gang-rape victims have had this happen to them".[4] This means that tens of thousands of women have been raped and shot in the vagina. And this affects of women of all ages, from 3 year olds to old ladies.

_The Congolese people live in abject poverty. The Democratic Republic of Congo has the highest proportion of starving people in the world, according to the 2008 Global Hunger Index, which ranked the Congo as a 42.7. That is an increase from 25.5 (which is still ranked as "alarming") in 1990. [5 Women often have to carry "more than their own body-weight in wood or coal or sand, all day, every day" just to make enough money to survive.[6]_

According to the IRC report on mortality rates in the Congo:_

The majority of deaths have been due to infectious diseases, malnutrition and neonatal- and pregnancy-related conditions. Increased rates of disease are likely related to the social and economic disturbances caused by conflict, including disruption of health services, poor food security, deterioration of infrastructure and population displacement. Children, who are particularly susceptible to these easily preventable and treatable conditions, accounted for 47 percent of deaths, even though they constituted only 19 percent of the total population.[7]

_Men and women in the DRC have life expectancies of 42 and 47 years, respectively, making an average life expectancy of 44 years. The under-5 mortality rate is 205 per 1,000 live births. That means that 1 in 5 Congolese children die before they reach the age of 5. Only 29% of rural Congolese have access to clean water sources and only 23% have access to decent sanitation. 31% of children under 5 are underweight, 452 people in every 100,000 have malaria and 551 in every 100,000 have tuberculosis. The maternal mortality rate is 990 per 100,000 live births.[8]

_Compare this to Britain, where the life expectancy at birth is 78, the under-5 mortality rate is 6 per 1,000 live births (more than 34 times less than in the DRC), nearly 100% of the population has access to improved water sources and improved sanitation, the proportion of malnourished children is close to 0%[9] and the maternal mortality rate is 261 per 100,000 live births[10] (almost 4 times lower than in the DRC).

_In the Congo, "since 1998, as many as 85 percent of those living near the front lines [of the war] have been affected by violence" and in Eastern DRC, which is the main area of fighting, mortality rates are "one third higher than the rest of the DRC",[11] where mortality rates are already terrible. But how did all of this happen?

_The (second) Congo war began in 1998 when Uganda and Rwanda invaded the Congo, launching "a bloody military offensive to overthrow [Congolese president] Laurent Kabila". The offensive failed but Rwanda and Uganda stayed in the Congo to take advantage of the rich resources of the country. They were soon joined by "Burundi, Angola, Namibia, Sudan and Zimbabwe, as well as dozens of home grown militia groups and private armies" who wanted a piece of the spoils. "In 2002 and 2003 ... Rwanda and Uganda, after intense international pressure, decided to withdraw from Congo but each, however, leaving behind dozens of armed groups they had created and trained while occupying the Congo".[12] There are now armed groups all over the DRC, many with different loyalties, all fighting mercilessly to get access to the riches under the ground. __Global Witness has said that "The minerals scattered all over North and South Kivu have acted as a magnet for rebel groups and military factions throughout the last 12 years."[13] The Panel of Experts at the UN reported in 2001 that "the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has become mainly about access, control and trade of five key mineral resources: coltan, diamonds, copper, cobalt and gold."[14] The same report stated that "the role of the private sector in the exploitation of natural resources and the continuation of the war has been vital. A number of companies have been involved and have fuelled the war directly, trading arms for natural resources. Others have facilitated access to financial resources, which are used to purchase weapons. Companies trading minerals, which the Panel considered to be 'the engine of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo' have prepared the field for illegal mining activities in the country."[15]

_These military factions and rebel groups are among the most brutal in the world. These groups include the Forces Démocratiques pour la Liberation du Rwanda (FDLR) from Rwanda, the Congrés National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP) from Rwanda, the Patriotes Résistants Congolaise (PARECO), various Mai-Mai groups who fight alongside the Congolese army, the Forces Républicaines Fédéralistes (FRF) and the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC). These groups have atrocious human rights records, and murder and rape are common. There are huge numbers of child soldiers in the DRC: Control Arms reports that "about 30,000 to 35,000 children have been recruited" by armed groups since the start of the war.[16]_

The only reason these groups are able to survive is because they control the mines. "The Congo possesses over 80 per cent of the world's reserve of coltan.[17] and has vast amounts of casserite (tin ore), gold, wolframite, pyrochlore, diamonds, clays, copper, cobalt, gas, nickel, oil, tungstone, zinc, iron, kaolin, niobium, ochre, bauxite, marble, phosphates, saline, granite, emerald, monazite, silver, uranium, platinum and lead. The DRC is "the only country on earth that houses all elements found on the periodic table".[18] The Congo is probably the richest country in the world in terms of natural resources.

_The rebel groups use their control over the natural resources to gain profit and power. Global Witness believes that "the profits they make through this plunder enable some of the most violent armed groups to stay alive."[19] Without this money they would not be able to recruit soldiers. "UNICEF says the militias can are [sic] offering ... $60-a-month to carry on seizing and raping and killing" and when people are starving they will accept anything in order to keep their families alive.[20] The war is mainly fought to keep control over the mines and is mainly funded through profits made by that mining. Without those profits, it is unlikely that the war would continue.

_Corporations all around the world, including those in Britain, are trading for these minerals and are making a huge profit off the warring factions. If it wasn't for this trade then it is extremely unlikely that the war would be able to continue. But the profits made off these minerals - especially colton which is needed for electronics such as mobile phones, computers and televisions - are too great for the corporations to ignore.

In trading for these minerals, a whole host of foreign corporations fund the worst holocaust since World War II. This report focuses on corporations in Britain and how they are fuelling the war and human rights abuses in the Congo.

The Trail:

There is a long and complicated money trail that goes from the Congo to the UK and back again. Minerals start off with the warring factions that control the mines. From there they go to comptoirs, - trading houses - and on to foreign corporations, where they get made into products, such as laptops or rings, which we buy. Then the warring factions use the money that they have made from the mines to buy weapons from foreign corporations or the governments of countries neighbouring the Congo. So our money goes from us to the corporations, to the comptoirs, to the warlords and back to the corporations, through the comptoirs. Everyone gains, except the Congolese people. _

The whole process begins with the rebel groups who control the mines. Global Witness reports that "In many parts of the provinces of North and South Kivu [the main zones of conflict], armed groups and the Congolese national army control the trade in cassiterite (tin ore), gold, columbite-tantalite (coltan), wolframite (a source of tungsten) and other minerals."[21] A report by the UN Security Council, produced by the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, concludes that "more than 90 per cent of minerals arriving at the Lulingu airstrip come from FDLR-controlled areas" and that "FDLR controls the majority of the principal artisanal mining sites in South Kivu, which are mostly cassiterite, gold and coltan mines".[22] This control over the mines is the main source of revenue for the warlords and the only thing keeping the groups going. The Group of Experts estimates that "FDLR is reaping profits worth millions of dollars a year from the trade in minerals from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, in particular cassiterite, gold, coltan and wolframite."[23] As noted earlier in this report, it is unlikely that the rebel groups would be able to survive without the income from controlling the mines. Their ability to recruit soldiers would diminish and they would not have the funds to continue their activities. The Group of Experts at the UN has reported that "the principal method used by FDLR to raise funds is through illegal trade of mineral resources.[24] And "a Congolese government official told Global Witness that at least 90% of gold exports were undeclared."[25] Undeclared goods are almost certainly under the control of armed groups and statistics are probably similar for other minerals. The Group Of Experts "believes that it is not in the interest of certain FARDC commanders to end the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo as long as their units are able to deploy to, and profit from, mining areas."[26] The same surely applies for the other armed groups, including the government. In 2002, the Group of Experts at the UN wrote that "no coltan exits from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo without benefiting either the rebel groups or foreign armies."[27] These rebel groups all have atrocious human rights records, which have been well documented by the sources given in this report. _

Conditions for mining in the DRC are horrendous. Global Witness reports that "in the course of plundering these minerals, rebel groups and the Congolese army have used forced labour (often in extremely harsh and dangerous conditions), carried out systematic extortion and imposed illegal "taxes" on the civilian population. They have also used violence and intimidation against civilians who attempt to resist working for them or handing over the minerals they produce." On top of all of this "the minerals are dug by hand, or with very basic tools, by civilians known as artisanal miners. These miners work in extremely harsh conditions, without training, equipment or protection; fatal accidents and serious injuries occur regularly." The report also states that the artisanal miners "are the first to suffer exploitation and human rights abuses at the hands of warring parties and derive few, if any, benefits from working in these conditions" since most of the work is slave labour, or if it is paid then it is paid very poorly.[28] In a 2005 report, entitled "The Curse of Gold", Human Rights Watch documented many horrible human rights abuses that gold mining had wrought on the Congolese people including "widespread ethnic slaughter, executions, torture, rape and arbitrary arrest ... organized forced community labour ... beatings, and other forms of cruel and degrading treatment" among many others. __The report states that "soldiers and armed group leaders, seeing control of the gold mines as a way to money, guns, and power, have fought each other ruthlessly, often targeting civilians in the process". The report opens by quoting a Congolese gold miner as saying "We are cursed because of our gold. All we do is suffer. There is no benefit to us."[29]

_Once mined, the minerals go from the warlords to the comptoirs. These are trading houses, mainly based in Goma and Bukavu, the capitals of North and South Kivu respectively. The comptoirs buy minerals from all over North and South Kivu, then sell the minerals onto (mostly) foreign companies. Global Witness reports that "officially register comptoirs are required to obtain a licence [sic] from the Ministry of Mines. Thereafter, they are operating 'legally', at least from a technical point of view ... The comptoirs' official status has allowed them to claim a certain legitimacy. This in turn has enabled foreign purchasers who buy minerals from them to claim that they buy only from 'legal' sources."[30] So, in effect, the comptoirs act as middlemen between the foreign corporations and the armed groups, allowing the foreign corporations to claim that they are only buying from legitimate, legal sources, when they are actually -albeit indirectly - buying from the warlords. A representative of a comptoir told Global Witness that "we all end up buying minerals which, in some way, have been produced illegally."[31] The Group of Experts at the UN "has identified several comptoirs in Bukavu as directly complicit in pre-financing negociants, who in turn work closely with FDLR. These companies are Group Olive, Etablissement Muyeye, MDM, World Mining Company (WMC) and Panju. These companies are the top five exporters of cassiterite, coltan and wolframite from South Kivu, according to 2007 Government statistics, and are explicitly licensed to export minerals by the Government."[32] In short, the mineral trail from Eastern Congo is a complicated web, in which it is almost impossible to avoid buying from - and funding - armed groups, even if you are buying from "legal" comptoirs.

_From the comptoirs, the minerals then go to foreign corporations and they are traded through ahost of different corporations until a product is complete. The trail gets convoluted and hard to follow here but attempts have been made. The UN Group of Experts has obtained "official documents that show that in 2007, the only importers of cassiterite and coltan from Olive, Muyeye, WMC and MDM [some of the comptoirs found to be directly complicit in financing FDLR] were the Belgian company Taxys, and the United Kingdom-based company Afrimex."[33] But this is only from 4 out of the approximately 40 licensed comptoirs in North and South Kivu, most of whom are probably involved with one or another armed group, and covers only 2 out of the Congo's many resources. Other corporations mentioned in the UN report as having helped finance rebel groups include Gold Link Burundi, Farrel trade and Investment Corporation and Emirates Gold. The report states that "cassiterite, coltan and wolframite are officially exported through companies based in Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Hong Kong (China), India, Malaysia, Thailand, Rwanda, South Africa, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the Russian Federation, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ... Gold is smuggled out mainly through neighbouring countries and principally into the United Arab Emirates and Europe."[34]

_In 2001 the Group of Experts at the UN made their original report on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In this report they gave a list of "companies importing minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo via Rwanda" with data collected from the Rwanda Revenue authority.[35] This list is reprinted here:

Company Country of destination Merchandise

Cogem Belgium cassiterites
Muka-Enterprise Belgium cassiterites
Issa Germany cassiterites
Chpistopa Floss Germany cassiterites
Redemi Rwanda cassiterites
Banro-Resources Corp. Malaysia cassiterites, coltan
Canada cassiterites
Bharat United Republic of Tanzania cassiterites
Extano-Office Rwanda coltan
Coopimar Rwanda coltan
Geologistics Hannover Germany coltan
Rwasibo-Butera Switzerland coltan
Eagleswings Netherlands coltan
Veen Netherlands coltan
Soger Belgium coltan
Patel Warehouse Netherlands coltan
Afrimex United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland coltan
Netherlands cassiterites
Chimie Pharmacie Netherlands coltan
Belgium coltan
Sogem Belgium coltan, cassiterites, tin
Cogecom Belgium coltan, cassiterites
Cogea Belgium coltan
Panalpina Kenya coltan
Tradement Belgium coltan, cassiterites
Ventro Star United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland coltan
Raremet India coltan
Finconord Pakistan coltan
Finiming Ltd. Belgium coltan
Finconcorde Russian Federation cassiterites, coltan
Patel India cassiterites
Cicle International Belgium coltan
Masingiro Germany coltan
Union-Transport Germany coltan
Specialty Metal Belgium coltan
MDW Belgium cassiterites, coltan
Transintra Belgium cassiterites

Since these are only the companies that have been through Rwanda and only the ones documented by the Rwanda Revenue Authority it is only a small sample of the corporations exploiting minerals from the Congo, but it is indicative of how many are doing it.

Global witness reports that:

According to Congolese government statistics, companies registered in Belgium accounted for the largest proportion of cassiterite, wolframite and coltan imports from North and South Kivu in 2007 and from North Kivu from January to September 2008. The main Belgian companies are Trademet, Traxys, SDE, STI and Specialty Metals. After these Belgian companies, the largest buyers of cassiterite from North and South Kivu in 2007 were the Thailand Smelting and Refining Corporation (THAISARCO), the world's fifth-largest tin-producing company owned by the large British metals company Amalgamated Metal Corporation (AMC) Group; Afrimex, a UK-registered company (see below); and MPA , the Rwanda-based subsidiary of South-African owned Kivu Resources. These were followed by the Malaysian Smelting Corporation Berhad (the world's fourth-largest tin-producing company), and companies based in China, India, Austria, the Netherlands and Russia. Four other companies - African Ventures Ltd in China, Met Trade India Ltd in India, Eurosib Logistics JSC in Russia and BEB Investment Inc. in Canada - accounted for an increasing proportion of cassiterite imports from North Kivu between January and September 2008. For coltan, the largest importers in 2007 were Traxys, THAISARCO and companies based in Hong Kong and South Africa. For wolframite, Belgian companies (Trademet and Specialty Metals) were once again the largest buyers in 2007. Other buyers included Afrimex, THAISARCO and companies registered in the Netherlands, China, Austria, United Arab Emirates and Russia. There are no reliable statistics for gold exports from North or South Kivu. Even for cassiterite, wolframite and coltan, Congolese government statistics are incomplete, and there are large discrepancies with corresponding statistics from importing countries. [36]

_In another report[37] in 2002, the Panel of Experts listed 85 "business enterprises considered by the panel to be in violation of the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises". The table has been reproduced here:[38]

Name of Company Business Country
African Trading Corporation (Sarl) Trading of natural resources from DRC South Africa
Afrimex Coltan trading UK
Ahmad Diamond Corporation Diamond trading Belgium
A.H. Pong & Sons Import-Export South Africa
A. Knight International Ltd Assaying UK
A & M Minerals and Metals Ltd Trading Minerals UK
Alex Stewart (Assayers) Ltd Assaying UK
Amalgamated Metal Corporation Plc Trading Coltan UK
America Mineral Fields Mining USA
Anglo American Plc Mining UK
Anglovaal Mining Ltd Mining South Africa
Arctic Investment Investment UK [actually based in Canada]
ASA Diam Diamond trading Belgium
ASA International

Ashanti Goldfields Mining Ghana
Avient Air Private military company Zimbabwe
Banro Corporation Mining South Africa
Barclays Bank Banking UK
Bayer A.G. Chemical Industry Germany
B.B.L Banking Belgium
Belgolaise Banking Belgium
Cabot Corporation Tantalum processing USA
Carson Products Commercialisation of resources of the DRC South Africa
Chemie Pharmacie Holland Financial and logistical support to EWRI Netherlands
Cogecom Coltan trading Belgium
Dara Forest Timber exploitation Belgium
Das Air Airline company UK
De Beers Diamond mining and trading UK
Diagem BVBA Diamond trading Belgium
Eagle Wings Resources International Exploitation of coltan from the DRC USA
Echogem Diamond trading Belgium

Enterprise Generale Malta Forest Construction, mining, trading DRC
Euromet Coltan trading UK
Finconcord SA Coltan trading from DRC Switzerland
Finmining Coltan trading from DRC Saint Kitts
First Quantum Minerals Mining Canada
Flashes Of Colour Diamond trading USA
Fortis Banking Belgium
George Forrest International Afrique Management DRC
Harambee Mining Corporation Mining Canada
H.C. Starck GmbH & Co KG Processing coltan Germany
Ibryv And Associates LLC Diamond trading Switzerland
International Panorama Resources Corp Mining Canada
Iscor Mining South Africa
Jewel Impex Bvba Diamond trading Belgium
Kababankola Mining Company Mining Zimbabwe
Kemet Electronics Corporation Capacitor manufacturer USA
KHA International AG Minerals trading Germany
Kinross Gold Corporation Mining USA
K & N Project development Belgium
Komal Gems NV Diamond trading Belgium
Lundin Group Mining Bermuda
Malaysia Smelting Corporation Coltan processing Malaysia
Masingiro GmbH Minerals trading Germany
Melkior Resources Inc Mining Canada
Mercantille CC Trading in natural resources from DRC South Africa
Mineral Afrika Limited Trading in natural resources from DRC UK
NAC Kazatomprom Tantalum processing Kazakhstan
Nami Gems Diamond trader Belgium
Ningxia Non-Ferrous Metals Smelter Tantalum processing China
OM Group Inc Mining USA + Finland
Operation Sovereign Legitimacy (OSLEG) Pvt Ltd Commercial interests in the DRC Zimbabwe
Orion Mining Inc Mining South Africa
Pacific Ores Metals And Chemicals Ltd Coltan trading Hong Kong
Raremet Ltd Coltan trading from DRC Saint Kitts
Saracen Security company South Africa
SDV Transintra Transport France
Sierra Gem Diamonds Diamond trading Belgium
SLC Germany GmbH Coltan transport Germany
Sogem Coltan trading Belgium
Speciality Metals Company SA Coltan trading Belgium
Standard Chartered Bank Banking U.A.E
Swanepoel Construction South Africa
Tenke Mining Corporation Mining Canada
Thorntree Industries (Pvt) Ltd Provides capital to MBC Zimbabwe
Track Star Trading 151 (Pty) Ltd Exploitation and trading minerals in DRC South Africa
Trademet SA Coltan trading Belgium
Tremalt Ltd Mining British Virgin Islands
Trinitech International Inc Coltan trading and exploitation USA
Triple A Diamonds Diamond trading Belgium
Umicore International Metals and Materials Group Belgium
Vishay Sprague Capicitor manufacturer USA + Israel
Zincor Mining South Africa

This list is not complete and is from 2002 so it is doubtful that it is still entirely accurate. But it gives an indicative picture. As you can see, there is a huge web of corporations that are guilty of exacerbating the conflict in the Congo. When you take into account other businesses that trade with these corporations the list grows exponentially. This report is only focusing on corporations in the UK but it is important to take note of all of them.

_The final step in the trail is the sale of weapons from international arms companies to the warring factions in the Congo. They use the money they have acquired from selling minerals to buy these weapons. For example a UN report indicated "that the Congolese government used revenues from diamond sales to purchase weapons."[39] Control Arms reports that "fifty to 60 per cent of the weapons used in the DRC are AK-47s or derivatives of it; but other rifles have reportedly come from Germany, France, the UK, and other countries." The same report also states that nearly all arms in the DRC "were manufactured outside Africa."[40] A 2005 report by Amnesty International states that "following the signing of the DRC peace accords in the second half of 2002, a series of armed flights were carried out from Tirana, Albania to Kigali ... these inter-continental deliveries involved up to 400 tonnes of munitions, and involved companies from Albania, Israel, Rwanda, South Africa and the United Kingdom".[41] The same report states that "Amnesty International has found that three of the companies in these five arms deliveries operated from the UK - African International Airways (Crawley, West Sussex), Intavia Ltd (Crawley and Gatwick), and Platnium Air Cargo (Egham, Surrey)."[42] In 2003, Mark Curtis reported that "Britain continued arms exports to Zimbabwe after August 1998, when it intervened in DRC's civil war. From this point on, Zimbabwe supplied Hawk aircraft to devastating effect."[43] Zimbabwe is no longer involved in the war in the DRC but its presence greatly exacerbated the conflict while it was there. Also in 2003, the Independent reported that "BAE Systems, the UK's largest defense company, is targeting exports of civil aerospace equipment to trouble spots like the Democratic Republic of Congo".[44] The Group of Experts at the UN has accused British Aerospace (now BAE) of providing arms to the Congo. They wrote that Aviation Consultancy Services Company, which "represents British Aerospace" and others, has helped to "mediate sales of British Aerospace military equipment to the Democratic Republic of Congo."[45] It is difficult to discern the extent to which British corporations are involved in supplying arms to the DRC since the arms trade is so secretive and full of complicated trades, but the Campaign Against the Arms Trade has reported that between 1998 and 2009 the British government has approved 78 export licenses for arms exports to the DRC.[46] It does not say which corporations were given the licenses.

Some case studies

1. Afrimex:

_Afrimex featured in the 2001 and 2002 UN reports as having both imported minerals from the DRC via Rwanda, and violated OECD guidelines. In February 2007, Global Witness filed a complaint against Afrimex for "breaches of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises ... in relation to its activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo ... These breaches relate to Afrimex's trade in minerals - specifically coltan and cassiterite - in the DRC's eastern provinces of North and South Kivu".[47]

_Afrimex is a privately-owned mineral trading company, registered in Wembley, United Kingdom (no. 01738800). It operates in eastern DRC as Société Kotecha, a Congolese registered company based in Bukavu, South Kivu.[48] Global Witness reported that "throughout all stages of the conflict, Afrimex and its partners in the DRC have been major traders in resources controlled by rebel groups - the eastern provinces being under partial or complete rebel control throughout most of the conflict. The most dominant of these groups in North and South Kivu since 1998 was the RCD-Goma [a rebel group assisted by the Rwanada government] ... Control and exploitation of these trades enabled the RCD-Goma to finance its crippling occupation of North and South Kivu - an occupation characterised by widespread human rights violations against the civilian population."[49] _

From 1998 onwards, Afrimex was the greatest trader in terms of volume, exporting 165,000 kg of coltan with a reported value of US$ 2.475 million".[50] "In November 2000, the RCD-Goma imposed a monopoly on the coltan trade in the territories under its control in the form of the Société Minière des Grands Lacs (SOGIML). __Under this regime, taxes of US$ 10 per kilogram of coltan were imposed on all traders, with Afrimex and Société Kotecha continuing their trade of coltan. This taxation enabled the RCD-Goma to finance its own military expenditures in its war against the national government."[51] The UN panel of Experts stated that of all the tax revenue collected by the RCD-Goma, " used to provide public services."[52] So, in effect, all of Afrimex' trade in region went to supporting the military capacity of RCD-Goma.

_The same complaint by Global Witness reported that "export statistics from 2004 and early 2005 reveal that Afrimex was the second largest exporter of cassiterite from South Kivu, controlling more than 40% of the cassiterite from the province, while also buying minerals from mines in North Kivu. While Ketan Kotecha [one of the directors of Afrimex] claimed that the minerals he traded all came from 'genuine, legal, licensed sources,' a representative of his own company admitted to Global Witness that one cannot know the origin of the minerals as they come from various locations, in small quantities."[53]

_Global Witness reports that "Afrimex admitted that it profited from coltan and cassiterite mined around Walikale".[54] A Channel 4 report, entitled "Congo's Tin Soldiers", has documented the awful mining conditions in Walikale, as well as the control of the mines by armed forces.[55] Channel 4 reported that "in the absence of any mine management, government soldiers rule here by gun law."[56] The report quoted miner, Muhanga Kawaya, as saying _

In the hole you have to crawl and squeeze and suck in your belly, to make it through. The next danger is the huge rocks above; often they bury us and once they move, it's instant death. Then there's the darkness. And there's no air. Once you get down more than 200 feet, the air flow stops altogether. It's up to you to figure out how to breathe. As you crawl through the tiny hole, using your arms and fingers to scratch, there's not enough space to dig properly and you get badly grazed all over. And then, when you do finally come back out with the cassiterite, the soldiers are waiting to grab it at gunpoint. Which means you have nothing to buy food with. So we're always hungry.[57]

_The report also quotes a trader, Maponda Regina, as saying_

The miners work for nothing; the soldiers always steal everything. They even come to shoot people down the mineshafts. Yes, not long ago, they shot someone. They force the miners to give them everything and they threaten to shoot anyone who argues.

They're always ready to shoot. We are really penalised. We earn nothing. But we pay a lot. The soldiers - they are all around us here, but they are in civilian clothes.[58]

_Afrimex has been complicit in supporting these human rights abuses in Walikale and funding the government soldiers who committed them. When asked about how he felt about this, Ketan Kotecha said "yes, salary structures are very low but it's better that miners and porters earn something than nothing. If I didn't do this, someone else would. I am not here as some kind of moral saviour."[59]

_Global Witness concluded from transcripts of oral evidence that Ketan Kotechoa gave before the International Development Committee that "despite these events and the context of armed conflict in which they were operating, the directors of Afrimex confirmed that they did not see fit to stop or modify their activities, in particular their trade in minerals in rebel-controlled territory."[60]

_"Information gathered by Global Witness confirms that Afrimex continued to trade in minerals from Eastern DRC after the complaint [that Global Witness made] was filed in February 2007 ... Congolese government statistics list Afrimex as having imported 382.5 tonnes of cassiterite from Goma and 1,102.5 tonnes of cassiterite and 112.5 tonnes of wolframite from the comptoirs Muyeye [which was listed by the Panel of Experts as having funded armed groups] and Bakulikira in South Kivu in 2007."[61]

_In 2008 the UK governments National Contact Point for the OECD guidelines investigated the case of Afrimex and published its final statement, "upholding the majority of Global Witness's [sic] allegations. It concluded that Afrimex had failed to ensure that its trading activities did not support armed conflict and forced labour."[62] "The NCP made a number of recommendations to Afrimex, relating among other things, to the formulation, implementation of a corporate responsibility policy, which should take into account human rights and the impact of the company's activities. By February 2009, almost 6 months after its final statement, the NCP had not received any information from Afrimex about the implementation of its recommendations."[63]

Global Witness reports that "in March 2009, Afrimex replied to the NCP, with a copy to Global Witness, stating that it had stopped trading in minerals and that its last shipment of minerals left the DRC in around the first week of September 2008."[64] There have been no independent investigations of Afrimex' role in the DRC since then so it is impossible to verify this claim. Hopefully there will be an investigation soon that will reveal whether or not Afrimex still operates in the DRC and fuels the conflict.

_The author of this report concurs with Global Witness that "Afrimex has breached the OECD Guidelines and that by doing so, it contributed to the conflict and to large-scale human rights abuses against populations living in the affected areas of eastern DRC."[65]

_2. Anglo American Plc:

_Anglo American Plc appeared in the UN Group of Experts' list of corporations violating OECD guidelines in the Congo. De Beers, which is part of the Anglo American group, made it onto the same list. AngloGold Ashanti, also part of the group, has been accused of exacerbating the conflict in the Congo as well.[66]

A War on Want report on Anglo American reports that "in 2005 De Beers returned to the DRC in an exploration agreement with the country's main diamond mining company Société Minière de Bakwanga (MIBA), itself implicated in a number of human rights abuses."[67] De Beers holds 19.56% of the shares in an umbrella group called SIBEKA, which, in turn, owns 20% of the shares in MIBA.[68] Amnesty International reports that "dozens of illegal miners are shot dead in MIBA's diamond concessions every year" and "according to MIBA officials, around 10 to 15 suspected illegal miners are arrested every day at the polygoneconcession". Amnesty described the detainment centers as "virtually uninhabitable".[69] MIBA is owned and controlled, primarily, by the Congolese government. The Congolese army is both a huge part of the conflict and also involved in the exploitation of minerals. Global Witness reports that in the government-controlled mining areas:_

Local human rights organisations have reported cases where civilians have been arrested and tortured for not complying with soldiers' orders to work for them, for not satisfying their military "bosses" or for denouncing extortion, theft of minerals or other abuses by the military ... Forced labour occurs in some cases; in others, the miners, who would be working in these locations anyway, resign themselves to the fact that they will have to hand over a proportion of what they produce to the military ... An activist from South Kivu said: "In Shabunda, Mwenga and Kamituga, specific days are designated. For example, every Saturday, people go to work in a paticular commander's plot. It is like salongo. It is well-known. The workers are not paid.[70]

_When De Beers trades with, and invests in, MIBA, those are the people that the money ends up with.

AngloGold Ashanti's role in plundering the Congo has been documented extensively by Human Rights Watch.[71] "AngloGold Ashanti was established in October 2003 by a merger of two large African gold mining companies: Ashanti Goldfields Ltd. and AngloGold Ltd."[72] When this merger occurred AngloGold Ashanti acquired the mining rights that Ashanti Goldfields had been given under concession 40, which had been granted to it by the DRC government in 1998. "In October 2003, AngloGold Ashanti representatives discussed the company's intentions to start gold exploration drilling in Mongbwalu with two Congolese vice-presidents and two ministers." Mongbwalu was under the control of an armed group called the FNI. Human Rights watch writes that "both during military operations and after having taken effective control of the area, FNI combatants committed grave human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law."[73]_

Human Rights Watch reports that: _

AngloGold Ashanti's official dealings and its mining contract were with the transitional government in Kinshasa, but the government did not physically control the area around Mongbwalu, the key mining site ... Mongbwalu was under the de facto control of the FNI armed group ... AngloGold Ashanti representatives began establishing a relationship with the FNI, an armed group with an atrocious record of human rights crimes who continued to carry out serious and widespread abuses even as they entered discussions with AngloGold Ashanti representatives ... Following discussions with transitional government officials, AngloGold Ashanti representatives met with self-styled FNI president Njabu while he was in Kinshasa in late2003 [sic] to apparently ask for permission to start gold exploration drilling activities in Mongbwalu, necessary because the FNI were in physical control of the mines and surrounding territory.

_In an interview with a Human Rights Watch researcher Njabu said that "the government is never going to come to Mongbwalu. I am the one who gave Ashanti permission to come to Mongbwalu." According to Human Rights watch, "as AngloGold Ashanti received permission from the FNI to start operations in Mongbwalu, FNI combatants were returning from their murderous campaign of ethnic killings they carried out between July and September 2003 in Drodro, Nizi, Fataki, Bule and Largo, villages in the vicinity of Mongbwalu".[74]

_Human Rights watch criticized AngloGold Ashanti by saying that "in setting up a relationship with the FNI resulting in mutual benefits, AngloGold Ashanti may have violated a U.N. arms embargo on eastern DRC." The Group of Experts at the UN stated that "that AngloGold Ashanti could arguably have violated the arms embargo through their direct payment and assistance to the FNI".[75]

_In March 2004 an AngloGold Ashanti official, Howard Fall, reported in writing that Njabu told them they were "welcome in the area, and would be allowed to carry out their activities unhindered." He specifically assured them that "they need not to be alarmed by the presence of armed militia."[76] Human Rights Watch commented on the deal by saying that "while AngloGold Ashanti representatives may have been provided with security assurances, the local population were not. Throughout February 2004 and in the months that followed, FNI combatants frequently arrested civilians for failure to pay 'taxes' or participate in forced labor, often beating and torturing their victims".[77]

_Human Rights watch reports that:_

Howard Fall, manager of the AngloGold Ashanti project in Mongbwalu, confirmed the company had contact with the FNI and that the armed group had granted permission for the company to work in Mongbwalu, but he added that there "was no relationship with Njabu." Other AngloGold Ashanti employees expressed different views. A number of witnesses told a Human Rights Watch researcher that an AngloGold Ashanti consultant had frequent contact with the FNI leaders, including Njabu, often acting as a bridge between the company and the armed group. Human Rights Watch also learned that AngloGold Ashanti knew there were possible difficulties in having a direct relationship with the FNI and hence employed consultants to facilitate such discussions. In its April 27, 2005 e-mail communication with Human Rights Watch the company denied the allegations, though they did add that on the occasions where there had been "unavoidable contact" with the FNI, the company had sought to ensure such contact was "transparent" and was "directly between ourselves and the militia group."

_So AngloGold Ashanti's position on it's dealings with the FNI is that it deals with them, but not their leader, except that it does deal with their leader, but it doesn't deal with them at all, even though it does deal with them when it is "unavoidable".

_Human Rights Watch claims that "as a result of the relationship with AngloGold Ashanti, the FNI obtained important benefits for the movement and certain [sic] of its leaders."[78] HRW also reports that:_

When Njabu asked money [sic] from AngloGold Ashanti's consultant based in Uganda, Ashley Lassen, he got it. Lassen told a Human Rights Watch researcher in May 2004 that the situation was complex. "We don't want to cut Njabu out," he said. _

"He needs to feel included. He just wants money and then he will go away. We have given him a little, a few hundred dollars here and there, but that is all. We know how to deal with people like him." Another close observer to events in Mongbwalu also told Human Rights Watch that payments were being made by AngloGold Ashanti to the FNI, though he believed the amounts being paid were higher ... AngloGold Ashanti further confirmed in its April 27, 2005 e-mail that the company had paid the FNI a levy of six US cents per kilogram of cargo flown into the local airport at Mongbwalu.[79]

_"In addition to the payments described above, AngloGold Ashanti provided various other forms of support to the FNI armed group in Mongbwalu, including some assistance with logistics and transportation." There are many examples of this:_

Njabu and other senior FNI representatives used the 4x4 AngloGold Ashanti vehicle so often that the company began insisting that they put their requests in writing so transportation arrangements could be better planned. AngloGold Ashanti also permitted FNI leaders to travel on planes they had hired for flights from Mongbwalu to Beni or Kampala. Throughout the period of late 2003 and into 2004, as FNI leaders were getting such benefits from AngloGold Ashanti, FNI combatants continued to carry out their policies of witch hunts, arbitrary detentions, torture and forced labor. Some victims were so badly brutalized for not paying taxes or carrying out the FNI's policy of forced labor that they fled to Bunia or other places hundreds of kilometers away seeking safety.[80]

_Human Rights Watch reports that the FNI have used their association with AngloGold Ashanti for more than just financial gain: "their association with a powerful, rich multinational corporation offered the possibility for increasing their legitimacy locally and at the national level."[81] One individual in Kinshasa said that "Njabu now has power due to the gold he controls and [the presence of] AngloGold Ashanti. This is his ace and he will use it to get power in Kinshasa" and one worker in Mongbwalu summed up the situation by saying "Ashanti will give dignity to the FNI."[82]

_Human Rights Watch further reports that:_

In its April 27, 2005 e-mail communication to Human Rights Watch, AngloGold Ashanti stated, "It is not the policy or practice of this company to seek to establish continuous, working relationships with militia groups in conflict zones." In the same communication the company admitted there had been contact between the company's "management and the FNI" but added these contacts had been "unavoidable" and in the cases where it had occurred the company had "attempted to keep the contact to a minimum and have ensured that the meetings and their outcomes are communicated with all interested parties."

_AngloGold Ashanti's position that it tries to "keep the contact to a minimum" is contradicted by the entire Human Rights watch report, and also by the fact that "Human Rights Watch has obtained materials and witness testimony reflecting the frequent contact between AngloGold Ashanti and senior FNI leaders including meetings held, written permission granted, and payments made to FNI representatives."[83]

_"In its December 7, 2004 letter to Human Rights Watch, AngloGold Ashanti wrote that 'steps have been taken to ensure that human rights will be upheld at all times' and that AGK will 'ensure that dealings with local and other organizations, including the discharge of social responsibilities, are carried out in accordance with criteria which comply with reasonable standards of good governance."[84] This claim is groundless and is contradicted by the facts on the ground.

_Human Rights Watch reports that:_

Asked about any policies that had been adopted to deal with apparently discriminatory practices at OKIMO, AngloGold Ashanti answered in its December 7, 2004 letter to Human Rights Watch, that it "did not seek to interfere in the internal workings" of OKIMO because it wished to maintain a good working relationship with OKIMO and wished to respect its "corporate status."

_Human Rights Watch commented that "given that tensions between Hema and Lendu ethnic groups have contributed to the conflict and widespread human rights abuses in Ituri, it is inappropriate for AngloGold Ashanti to have a hands off approach to such issues, especially in relationship to the joint venture partnership AGK in which AngloGold Ashanti has a majority share."[85]

_Human Rights watch further reports that: _

During the first year of the AngloGold Ashanti operations in Mongbwalu, Human Rights Watch researchers met with AngloGold Ashanti representatives in February, May and July 2004, highlighting human rights concerns about the FNI and other armed groups operating in Ituri including widespread ethnic massacres, arbitrary detention, summary execution, the use of torture and other forms of ill-treatment and sexual violence. As its representatives stated to Human Rights Watch researchers, AngloGold Ashanti did not raise human rights concerns with the FNI nor did they request an end to their abuses. In its letter of December 7, 2004 AngloGold Ashanti claimed it was not in a position to place any conditions on the FNI as "it had no working or other relationship with the FNI," which is inconsistent with the information presented in this report.[86]

_The relationship between AngloGold Ashanti and the FNI is summed up nicely by Human Rights watch: "In return for assurances of security for its operations and staff and access to the mining site, AngloGold Ashanti provided certain financial and material support to the FNI. The FNI also derived political benefit from its relation with AngloGlod [sic] Ashanti in that it found added strength in resisting efforts by the national government to bring it under control."[87]

_The author of this report concurs with Human Rights watch that "through the establishment of a mutually beneficial relationship with an armed group responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity, AngloGold Ashanti failed to uphold its obligations to secure respect for human rights."[88] Anglo American Plc is responsible not only for this, but also for the actions of De Beers, which involved investing in, and trading with, a company (MIBA) with a poor human rights record that is controlled by the government that plays such a large part in the conflict. This report believes (in concurrence with the UN Panel of Experts) that Anglo American Plc is guilty of numerous breaches of the OECD guidelines, in ways that contribute to conflict and human rights abuses in the DRC.

_3. Amalgamated Metal Corporation Plc:

_Amalgamated Metal Corporation Plc also appeared in the Group of Experts at the UN's list of companies that had breached the OECD guidelines. Global Witness reports that one of "the largest buyers of cassiterite from North and South Kivu in 2007 [was] the Thailand Smelting and Refining Corporation (THAISARCO), the world's fifth-largest tin-producing company [which is] owned by the large British metals company Amalgamated Metal Corporation (AMC) Group ... AMC PLC's 2007 Annual report and Accounts refer to THAISARCO as a principal subsidiary and operating unit of AMC PLC and state that AMC PLC owns 75.25% of THAISARCO."[89]

The Group of Experts at the UN report that they had "obtained documents showing that all of Panju's minerals purchased were sold to the Thailand Smelting and Refining Company."[90] Panju was named in the same report as one of the comptoirs that are "directly complicit in pre-financing negociants, who in turn work closely with FDLR." The Group also reports that Panju "are aware that certain mines they buy from are controlled by FDLR."[91] Global Witness reports that they "obtained DRC government export records that confirm that THAISARCO purchased over 2,000 tonnes of cassiterite, coltan and wolframite from Panju in 2007."[92]

_The atrocious human rights record of the FDLR has been well documented. For example, Global Witness reports that "the FDLR systematically extort minerals and money from miners, charging a flat fee of 30% on mining proceeds in some areas and 'taxing' minerals at roadblocks." For poor miners that 30% could mean the difference between starvation and survival. Global Witness further reports that people in FDLR controlled areas live in "an atmosphere of fear, as the FDLR impose[s] itself through violence and extreme brutality."[93] There have also been "instances of forced labour by the FDLR" and one activist in Kivu said that "people simply can't refuse to work for them". If they do refuse they face the threat of extreme violence: the FDLR is often involved in "killing and raping civilians".[94] For example, Human Rights Watch reports that the FDLR "brutally slaughtered at least 100 Congolese civilians in the Kivu provinces of eastern Democratic Republic of __Congo between January 20 and February 8, 2009".[95] The report goes on to state that:_

The FDLR abducted scores of local residents from neighboring villages and took them to their camp, apparently intending to use them as human shields against the impending attack [by Rwandan and Congolese coalition forces]. Witnesses said that when coalition forces attacked Kibua on January 27, the trapped civilians tried to flee. The FDLR hacked many civilians to death and others died in the crossfire.

One witness at Kibua saw FDLR combatants kill at least seven people, including a pregnant woman, whose womb was slit open. Another saw an FDLR combatant batter a 10-year-old girl to death against a brick wall.

As the FDLR fled the military confrontation, they abducted dozens of civilians, forcing them to carry their goods ... Following the meeting, the FDLR erected barriers to prevent people from fleeing. When some tried to flee, the FDLR attacked them, killing dozens with guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and machetes. "As I ran, I saw bodies everywhere - men, women and children," said one witness. "They had all been killed by the FDLR."

FDLR combatants also raped more than a dozen women whom they accused of having joined the government side against them. For instance, in southern Masisi territory (North Kivu), on January 27, FDLR combatants raped and killed a woman and then raped her 9-year-old daughter.[96]

_This is just one of the FDLR's many atrocities and another chapter to add to it's especially ugly past: "some leaders of the FDLR are accused of having participated in the 1994 Rwandan genocide."[97]

_The Group of Experts at the UN report that "the principle method used by FDLR to raise funds is through the illegal trade of mineral resources ... The Group estimates that FDLR is reaping profits possibly worth millions of dollars a year from the trade of minerals in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular cassiterite, gold, coltan and wolframite."[98] THAISARCO, and thus the Amalgamated Metal Corporation, share a huge responsibility for this and their actions in the Congo are funding the FDLR and possibly allowing it to continue to survive as a group.[99] Global Witness says that they are "concerned that THAISARCO's trading practices are fuelling the conflict in Eastern DRC."[100]

Global Witness reports that:_

In December 2008, Global Witness wrote to THAISARCO and its parent company AMC inquiring about their trade with the DRC and their due diligence policies. In their replies, THAISARCO and AMC attempted to create a distance between their trade and the situation in eastern DRC by stating that they do not operate "directly" in the DRC. THAISARCO also claimed that "most parties and commentators appear to be in agreement that the continued trade in minerals from DRC is fundamental to the well being of the artisanal mining communities" and concluded: "In summary, we believe we are providing a very valuable service to the DRC economy although we recognise that improvements in the visibility of the supply chain are both desirable and necessary."[101]

_THAISARCO's claim that they provide "a very valuable service to the DRC economy" and that their trade in the DRC is "fundamental to the well being of the artisanal mining communities" is laughable. As noted earlier, the artisanal miners "are the first to suffer exploitation and human rights abuses at the hands of warring parties and derive few, if any, benefits from working in these conditions".[102] If THAISCARCO and other countries were really providing a valuable service to the DRC economy then all the years of huge activity by foreign corporations in the DRC (which has been alluded to at many times in this report) would have given the DRC a booming economy. But that is not the case. The DRC has the 7th lowest Human Development Index in the world according to according to the United Nations development program.[103] It also has the lowest GDP per capita of any nation. It makes the bottom 10 in life expectancy at birth, probability of not surviving to age 40, people not using an improved water source, GDI (gender related development index) as % of HDI and combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratio (female as % of male).[104] The horrible standards of living in the DRC have already been noted in this report.[105] So THAISCARO's claims are completely ridiculous.

_AMC is finally starting to respond to all the criticism and "on 18 September 2009, Thaisarco announced that it has chosen to suspend all purchases of cassiterite from the DRC, however, also [sic] stated that it would continue to fulfil all current contracts."[106]

_There has been no indication of how long these contracts will last. THAISARCO's suspension of purchases is definitely a welcome development, although the fulfilling of current contracts does not seem to be an entirely ethical way to react when you are funding armed groups in a way that is fuelling the worst conflict in the world.

_Since it owns three quarters of the shares, Anglo American Plc is responsible for the actions of THAISARCO. These actions have breached the OECD guidelines, according to the Panel of Experts at the UN, and have provided a huge source of income to one of the most brutal rebel groups in the Congo, thus contributing greatly to the continuation of the conflict.


The actions of British (and other) corporations in the Congo are explicitly linked to the continuation of the conflict in what has become a war for minerals and has taken the lives of more than 5,400,000 people. As Global Witness reports, "it is in the interests of all sides in the conflict, as well as unscrupulous businessmen, to prolong [the conflict], as it delivers financial benefits without accountability."[107]

_Finding a solution to the problem will be complex. The corporations that are involved in fuelling war and violence in the Congo, such as the ones indicated in this report, have made huge profits off it and will not give up easily. The international trade networks involved in the mineral trade from the DRC are so complex that it becomes extremely difficult to track whether minerals have been sourced from the DRC, and whether they have funded rebel groups and fuelled the conflict. The DRC is so rich in resources that it will be very challenging to give companies incentives to stop exploiting them, and these resources are so beneficial to people in rich countries, such as Britain, that it will be difficult to get a strong movement of ordinary people to seek to rectify the crimes: for example, cassiterite is used to make electronic solders, which alone accounted for over 44% of all refined tin usage in 2007[108]; gold is extremely valuable and is at the core of most of the developed economies of the world; and coltan is fundamental to almost all of our electronics, from mobile phones to laptops to cameras to games consoles.

_But it is definitely possible. Global Witness believes that:_

A greater international interest in tackling the resource dimension of the conflict and increased sensitivity to criticism on the part of companies and traders may provide a long-waited opportunity for more effective action to break the links between mineral trade and armed conflict in North and South Kivu.[109]

_There are many charities, a few of which were created recently, that are working on this issue, including Save the Congo (, Friends of the Congo (, Raise Hope for Congo (, Congo Week ( and many others, including campaigns to help the Congo by many charities that do not focus exclusively on this issue.

_The author of this report believes that the very existence of corporations makes the process of finding peace in the Congo, and elsewhere, extremely difficult and that a long term goal for anyone concerned with peace and justice should be the abolition of corporations. The main reason for this belief, in short, is that "the senior managers of corporations are legally obliged, on pain of persecution, to seek to maximize profits for shareholders".[110] Joel Balkan explains that corporate managers "must always put their corporation's best interests first and not act out of concern for anything else (unless the expression of such concern can somehow be justified as advancing the corporation's own interests)."[111] The details and roots of this are explained very well in a report by Corporate Watch, entitled "Corporate Law & Structures: exposing the roots of the problem".

_In the shorter term, there are also many things that ordinary people can do to help. The first thing is an organized boycott of all companies found to be funding armed groups and fuelling the conflict in the DRC: the main thing that corporations will respond to is a loss of profit. Another thing that ordinary people can do is to pressure their government to prosecute all corporations that have been illegally profiting off the war in the DRC. Another possibility is to donate to, or volunteer for, one or more of the charities working to help the Congo. And finally, we could start a campaign to try all DRC war criminals in the Hague (both local armed groups and foreign corporations) for crimes against humanity.

_The British government is in a prime position to do something about the situation in the Congo, but it is in the pockets of corporate power. Patrick Alley, the director of Global Witness, says that:_

The British government is the largest bilateral aid donor to the DRC and a key diplomatic player. Its failure to hold British companies to account is undermining its own efforts and allowing one of the main drivers of the conflict to continue unchecked. We have asked the government countless times to pay more attention to the role of minerals in fuelling the conflict, and yet it seems that they are more concerned with protecting their companies' economic interests.[112]

_The Democratic Republic of Congo has suffered more than any country in the world in recent years and it's high time that something is done about it. The corporations that have profited immensely from the suffering of the Congolese people share a large responsibility for the horrors. So do the people of rich societies, such as in Britain: societies that are profiting off this same suffering with cheap electronic goods, jewelry and other products. Since we share responsibility for the suffering and misery of the Congolese people, we have a large burden of responsibility to do something about it.

_According to Patrick Alley:_

As long as the warring parties can fund themselves through international trade, they will continue to be able to inflict widespread violence on the population. Breaking the link between minerals and the violence must be an integral part of the solution - not something that is looked into once peace is achieved.[113]

_More than 5.4 million people have died, millions of people are starving, hundreds of thousands of women have been raped and a society has been destroyed to feed the insatiable appetite of corporations for profit and of the bloated consumer culture of the rich countries.

_Alas, this is not a new phenomenon. Joseph Conrad called King Leopold II's conquest and plunder of the Congo in the late 19th and early 20th century "the vilest scramble for loot that has ever disfigured the human conscience".[114] In the course of this savage plunder more than half the population of the Congo was either killed or died as a result of the miserable conditions that were imposed upon them.[115] For the people of the Congo, nothing has changed. _

[i][148] Amnesty International, "Democratic Republic of Congo: Arming the East"

[ii][149] UN, "Report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo"

[iii][150] This (very incomplete) list is taken from Congo Week,


[v][4] Johann Hari, "A journey into the most savage war in the world",

[v][5] Global Hunger Index: The Challenge of Hunger 2008,

[v][6] Hari, "A journey into the most savage war in the world"

[v][7] International Rescue Committee, "Mortality in the Democratic republic of Congo: An ongoing crisis"

[v][8] World Health Organisation, "Country Health System Fact Sheet 2006 D R Congo",

[v][9] World Bank, Data Profile: United Kingdom

[v][10] Times Online, "Maternal Deaths Rise",

[v][11] Control Arms, "The call for tough arms controls: Voices from the Democratic Republic of the Congo",

[v][12] Save the Congo, "A Tale Of Forgotten People",

[v][13] Global Witness, "'Faced With A Gun, What Can You Do?' War And The Militarisation Of Mining In Eastern Congo"

[v][14] UN, "Report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo",

[v][15] Ibid

[v][16] Control Arms, "The call for tough arms controls: Voices from the Democratic Republic of the Congo"

[v][17] Save the Congo, "A Tale Of Forgotten People",

[v][18] Save The Congo, "Natural resources",

Also see: Global Witness, "'Faced With A Gun, What Can You Do?' War And The Militarisation Of Mining In Eastern Congo"

[v][19] Global Witness, "'Faced With A Gun, What Can You Do?' War And The Militarisation Of Mining In Eastern Congo"

[v][20] Johann Hari, "A journey into the most savage war in the world",

[v][21] Global Witness, "'Faced With A Gun, What Can You Do?' War And The Militarisation Of Mining In Eastern Congo"

[v][22] United Nations Security Council, S/2008/773,

[v][23] Ibid

[v][24] Ibid

[v][25] Global Witness, "'Faced With A Gun, What Can You Do?' War And The Militarisation Of Mining In Eastern Congo"

[v][26] United Nations Security Council, S/2008/773

[v][27] United Nations Security Council, S/2002/1146,

[v][28] Global Witness, "'Faced With A Gun, What Can You Do?' War And The Militarisation Of Mining In Eastern Congo"

[v][29] Human Rights Watch, "The Curse of Gold",

[v][30] Global Witness, "'Faced With A Gun, What Can You Do?' War And The Militarisation Of Mining In Eastern Congo"

[v][31] Ibid

[v][32] United Nations Security Council, S/2008/773

[v][33] Ibid

[v][34] Ibid

[v][35] UN, "Report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo",

[v][36] Global Witness, "'Faced With A Gun, What Can You Do?' War And The Militarisation Of Mining In Eastern Congo", Italics added

[v][37] United Nations Security Council, S/2002/1146,

[v][38] This table is paraphrased since the original table had extra columns that aren't needed here. The wording is still almost exactly the same as in the original. If a square is blank it means that it was blank in the original table. Any errors come from the original list.

[v][39] Control Arms, "The call for tough arms controls: Voices from the Democratic Republic of the Congo",

[v][40] Ibid

[v][41] Amnesty International, "Democratic Republic of Congo: Arming the East",

[v][42] Ibid

[v][43] Mark Curtis, "Web of Deceit: Britain's Real Role in the World"

[v][44] Heather Thomlinson, "BAE condemned for targeting 'trouble spots' to sell arms", Independent, 14 September 2003,

[v][45] United Nations Security Council, S/2002/1146


[v][47] Global Witness, "Complaint to the UK National Contact Point under the Specific Instance Procedure of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises",

[v][48] Ibid, paraphrased

[v][49] Ibid

[v][50] Ibid

[v][51] Ibid. Information from IPIS, "Supporting the War Economy in the DRC: European Companies and the Coltan Trade," 2002

[v][52] Cited in Global Witness, "Complaint to the UK National Contact Point under the Specific Instance Procedure of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises"

[v][53] Global Witness, "Complaint to the UK National Contact Point under the Specific Instance Procedure of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises"

[v][54] Ibid

[v][55] Channel 4, "Congo's Tin Soldiers",

[v][56] Ibid

[v][57] Cited in Ibid

[v][58] Cited in Ibid

[v][59] Cited in Ibid

[v][60] Global Witness, "Complaint to the UK National Contact Point under the Specific Instance Procedure of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises"

[v][61] Global Witness, "'Faced With A Gun, What Can You Do?' War And The Militarisation Of Mining In Eastern Congo"

[v][62] Ibid

[v][63] Ibid

[v][64] Ibid

[v][65] Global Witness, "Complaint to the UK National Contact Point under the Specific Instance Procedure of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises"

[v][66] For example, see Human Rights Watch, "The Curse of Gold", and War On Want, "Anglo American: The Alternative Report",

[v][67] War On Want, "Anglo American: The Alternative Report"

[v][68] Amnesty International, "Making a Killing: The Diamond Trade in Government-Controlled DRC",

[v][69] Ibid

[v][70] Global Witness, "'Faced With A Gun, What Can You Do?' War And The Militarisation Of Mining In Eastern Congo", Italics in original

[v][71] Human Rights Watch, "The Curse of Gold: VI. AngloGold Ashanti - Starting Gold Exploration Activities",

[v][72] Ibid

[v][73] Ibid

[v][74] Ibid

[v][75] Cited in Ibid

[v][76] Cited in Ibid

[v][77] Ibid

[v][78] Ibid

[v][79] Ibid

[v][80] Ibid

[v][81] Ibid

[v][82] Cited in Ibid

[v][83] Ibid

[v][84] Ibid

[v][85] Ibid

[v][86] Ibid

[v][87] Ibid

[v][88] Ibid

[v][89] Global Witness, "'Faced With A Gun, What Can You Do?' War And The Militarisation Of Mining In Eastern Congo"

[v][90] United Nations Security Council, S/2008/773

[v][91] Ibid

Sources: Libcom

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