There are still over 3,500 child soldiers fighting in eastern Congo, abducted by militias that have gotten rich from a lucrative trade in conflict minerals. Electronics companies need to play an important role in cleaning up their supply chains and help stop the continued use of child soldiers.
According to the report, the “electronics industry is the principal end user of the four main minerals mined in eastern Congo,” and “profit maximizing pressures from the electronics industry have driven demand for Congo’s conflict minerals, produced cheaply as a result of the medieval conditions in which they are mined and the illicit networks that funnel them out of Africa.”
The strategy paper makes a number of recommendations: first, that industries trace and audit their supply-chains for these minerals, by tracing “3Ts and gold in their products down to the mine of origin”; that mines be properly secured; and that miners are supported and provided with additional economic alternatives; and reforming governance structures.
GRG and Enough are calling on companies and individuals to sign the Conflict Minerals Pledge which includes concrete steps to make electronic devices conflict-free.