Electronic Gadgets Fuel Congo “Rape Mines”


[Update: Mar 4 2010. The United States senate moved to stem the flow of money from mineral mines fuelling the brutal conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the watchdog group Global Witness (GW) is calling on Europe to follow suit. http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=50543

See also this shocking report in the journal PLoS Medicine  (22 Dec 2009) http://tiny.cc/60fjz ]

What can you do?

1. Lobby your government to be more involved in the DRC and stopping this. Encourage them to help train of local police and army and prosecute all those involved

2. Help out local and international organizations that are helping the women and children of the Congo

3. Don’t buy any electronic devices until manufacturers can guarantee those purchases are not funding this continuing atrocity

By Stephen Leahy

TORONTO, Canada, Dec 3 2008 (IPS)

International lust for the enormous mineral and resource riches of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) abetted by international indifference has turned much of country into a colossal “rape mine” where more than 300,000 women and girls have been brutalised, say activists.

Much of Congo’s misery due to “blood coltan” that powers our electronics

“Rape is being used as a deliberate tool to control people and territory,” said Eve Ensler, a celebrated U.S. playwright and founder of V-Day, a global movement in 120 countries to end violence against women and girls.

“The rapes are systematic, horrific and often involve bands of rebels infected with HIV/AIDS,” Ensler, who recently returned from the DRC, told IPS.

Ensler was in Toronto to help raise funds for the Panzi Hospital in the DRC’s South Kivu Province where many rape victims are brought. Once a maternity hospital, Panzi Hospital now provides free care and refuge to 3,500 victims of sexual violence each year. Denis Mukwege leads a team of six surgeons who routinely work 18-hour days to repair women’s extensive internal injuries.

Hundreds of women and children were raped yesterday, hundreds more today. This is an economic war that uses terror as its main weapon to ensure warlords and their bands control regions where international companies mine for valuable metals like tin, silver and coltan, or extract lumber and diamonds, Ensler said. Continue reading