Magazine article New Internationalist

Coltan Mining Fuels Congo Violence

Magazine article New Internationalist

Coltan Mining Fuels Congo Violence

Article excerpt

You may be aware of 'blood diamonds' but those pricey gems are not the only mineral produced where human rights violations are rampant. Your cell phone may also have blood on it. Those tiny miracles of modem communication can't run without coltan, a rare mineral found mainly in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The DRC has been torn by civil war, political turmoil, bloodshed and violence for decades.

In her 2009 UNICEF report ('Realities of Women and Children in DRC), Violeta Manoukian noted that people in the DRC suffer from 'constant, generalized insecurity due to the uncertain cessation of hostilities, forced enrolment of young boys into armed groups, reduced freedom of movement, widespread famine and malnutrition, environmental degradation and propagation of HIV/ AIDS.' Along with diamonds, coltan is a major income source for armed groups in the DRC.

The Canadian non-governmental agency, War Child Canada, is working to provide alternatives for ex-child soldiers in the DRC so they'll be less likely to end up in the coltan mining industry.

'If you draw concentric circles around the mining sites,' says War Child Director Samantha Nutt, 'the closer you get to the centre, the more rape and sexual abuse you find, along with extreme violence like amputations. …

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