WEBINAR REPORT

“The Impact of Conflict Minerals on Human Rights in the DR Congo”

 

 

Date and Time:  Thursday, February 10th, 2022, 10:00PM (KST)

Location:  Online (Zoom)

Topics:  Conflict Minerals, Human Rights

Host:   HWPL Daejeon Branch

Speakers: 

Mr. Josaphat Musamba, DR Congo, Researcher, The Research Group on Conflicts and Human Security (GEC-SH / CERUKI at ISP Bukavu)

Mr. Fidel Bafilemba, DR Congo, Researcher, Enough Project DRC

 

A webinar was held to raise awareness of the impact of conflict minerals on human rights in DR Congo and gain correct understanding of the reality on the ground influenced by conflict minerals.

 

 

“We ask the international community to ensure that human rights are protected, and blood minerals are put to an end in order to stop conflicts so that communities can live easily in their environment, and they can benefit from the natural resources bequeathed by their ancestors.”

Vicar Batundi Hangi 

 

 

Introduction Webinar

On February 10th, 2022, HWPL (Heavenly Culture World Peace Restoration of Right) hosted the webinar “The Impact of Conflict Minerals on Human Right in DR Congo”.

The webinar was held to raise awareness of the impact of conflict minerals on human rights in DR Congo and gain correct understanding of the reality on the ground influenced by conflict minerals.

Two civil society actors in Goma, DR Congo, Mr. Thomas d’Aquin Muiti and Mr. Vicar Batundi Hangi sent a short message regarding the topic through video then after that two experts in this field, Mr. Fidel Bafilemba and Mr. Josaphat Musamba who have been doing research on conflicts minerals on the ground for many years gave the main presentations.

 

Background Information

Minerals such as tin, tantalum, tungsten, gold and cobalt are vital components in electronic devices and are categorized as conflict minerals since they are connected to armed conflicts and human rights abuses in the regions of the world where they are extracted from. DR Congo is one of the countries which suffer the most from conflict minerals. Despite the efforts of the international community, such as the implementing of laws and conducting campaigns to halt the use conflict minerals, there are still many challenges to be resolved.

Through this webinar, the speakers presented on how conflict minerals have impacted human rights violation in DR Congo and shared the remaining challenges and some necessary actions which need to be taken to improve the situation.

 

Points of discussion

Mr. Thomas d’Aquin Muiti and Mr. Vicar Batundi Hangi, in their video presentations, focused on human rights violence and resource exploitation due to the conflict minerals. Mr. Thomas d’Aquin Muiti said that minerals have contributed to serious human rights violence to a very large extent and several armed groups have been formed because of the mining of these minerals. He also added that there are foreign companies which contribute to this systematic looting and exploiting not only of these mineral resources but also the forest resources.

Mr. Vicar Batundi Hangi explained how artisanal miners are mistreated and their human rights are not respected by international mining companies and he stressed that those who exploit natural resources must take into account local development and respect human rights at least.

Mr. Fidel Bafilemba and Mr. Josaphat Musamba, in their main presentations, focused more on the reality of local people on the ground. Mr. Fidel Bafilemba pointed out that the background of this miserable reality taking place in DR Congo should be traced back five centuries to the history of enslavement by the Superpowers, which blocked DR Congo from having its own ability to function as a state. He mentioned that DR Congo has so called laws for conflict minerals but unfortunately these laws have never been implemented because of corruption but the Dodd-Frank law which was passed by the USA Congress in 2010 is the first law which has had an impact on blood conflict minerals. This law states that no more minerals from the DR Congo are to be exported if the company cannot prove that the minerals are coming from green mines.

However, Mr. Josaphat Musamba threw forward the question toward the dominant narrative “Do conflict minerals cause conflict in DR Congo?” He said that Congolese Minerals are not full of blood because miners are working for their family. He also addressed that the conflict minerals regulations trigger a negative impact on the local people even though other Congolese benefit from mining activities. It obliges people to make sure that they are importing minerals from the green mining sites where there are no conflicts and where no armed groups are involved. However, these efforts have increased smuggling and left many Congolese artisanal miners out of work. Most of them are still living in poverty.

 

Highlights

Thomas d’Aquin Muiti: Minerals are an opportunity for development and respect for human rights.

Vicar Batundi Hangi: We ask the international community to ensure that human rights are protected and blood minerals are put to an end in order to stop conflicts so that communities can live easily in their environment, and they can benefit from the natural resources bequeathed by their ancestors

Fidel Bafilemba: Let’s keep sensitizing people and raising awareness on the consequences of conflict minerals.

Josaphat Musamba : We should take into account the perspective of miners and their family for the implementation of the law for conflict minerals.

 

Next Steps

We will continue to hold webinars on this topic to raise awareness of conflict minerals and human rights and to seek for a better solution for it.

 

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