Ending the Conflict Minerals Trade in the Eastern Congo

June 30, 2010
Two Young Men Carry Sack of Mud To Be Sieved for Diamonds in the Congo

About the Author: Robert D. Hormats serves as Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs.

The State Department continues to focus a great deal of attention on the plight of residents in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a region that has been subject to a long-running war and severe injustice.

Yesterday, I delivered remarks at a panel highlighting one aspect of the U.S. government's commitment to helping the DRC. My talk covered our efforts to end the trade in conflict minerals in eastern Congo, a trade that has helped fuel the long-running conflict to continue and that has led to near slavery conditions for many of the workers there. The non-governmental organization ENOUGH Co-Founder, John Prendergast, moderated the event, and it featured a panel which included: Representative Jim McDermott (D-Washington), author of the Conflict Minerals Trade Act; Dr. Faida M. Mitifu, DRC Ambassador to the United States; and David Sullivan, Policy Manager of the Enough Project.

The event provided a good opportunity to highlight the Department's efforts to stem the flow of illicit minerals, promote legitimate trade, and protect those living in artisanal mining communities.

Of late, this issue has been receiving a lot of attention, partly because today is Congo's 50th anniversary of independence. I'm sure many of you read Nicholas Kristof's recent piece, Death by Gadget, in The New York Times. Our goal is to raise the level of awareness about the human cost of this illicit trade and to mobilize a series of measures to stop it and the war it helps to support.

Bringing an end to this war is one of the great moral issues of our time. Secretary Clinton, along with others in the State Department and colleagues throughout our government, feel strongly about the need to address it urgently -- working with the business community, the government of the DRC, other governments, NGOs, and multilateral institutions.



jony J.
California, USA
July 2, 2010

Jony J. in California writes:

hi, while i am glad for finally daring to talk about it(well because it's congo's independence day), I'm still very skeptical that you' re really interested in lives of those poor africans from central africa. If you were interested in the poeple (rather than the regime) you will start by denouncing the mastermind of that war in DRC (mr Paul Kagame of Rwanda), verify how ordinary congolese think about him! there is no way that the pentagon will keep supporting Kagame, and hoping that the DRC problem will end. The root of the problem is that (two-private jets owner Mr Paul Kagame of Rwanda)

Arizona, USA
July 2, 2010

Kristin in Arizona writes:

I applaud any attempt to raise awareness, enact legislation and take action with the real intent to address and resolve the underlying issues, and promote peace and justice. Obviously this process can only succeed if the situation is understood adequately in its context, if appropriate measures are taken which garner enough true support and solidarity (rather than the right hand doing one thing, and the left quite another), and if there is the strength of actual effective follow-through, beyond headlines and publicity.

August 21, 2010

Malu in Canada writes:

Thank you for your effort to raise the awarness with respect to the DRC. My comments is as following:
- the western countries are playing a very dangerous game with third world countries, ainly in Africa. What has been happening in the DRC for the past 15 years is unacceptable: more than 5 millions deaths! A corrupt, incompetent and brutal government known to all.
- If we are serious about bringing the REAL CHANGE in Africa's governance, it's time to stop playing the same song over and over again. In the case of the DRC, we all know that the current regime is incompetent. The current President has been in power for 9 years with NO REAL IMPACT. Why do we need to keep him for another 5 years as a president? In the US as we know, if a CEO is less performant, he will not keep is job. Kabila has been a failure for 9 years and a disaster for the DRC people and the whole region. The US has to change its tone, send a strong message that rogue regimes, let it be in the Middle East or in Africa, will be forced out. Continuing with the same approach and methodology is sending a wrong message to African dictators. Africans deserve better leaders and better quality of life as any human being in the 21st century.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



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