Yesterday the U.N. Security Council renewed the arms embargo and associated sanctions for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and further expanded the remit of the Group of Experts. This is all well and good, but is hardly the sort of strong action that ought to follow from the damning evidence provided to the Security Council in the latest U.N. Experts report, as well as its many predecessors. Read More »
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda is no neutral observer when it comes to the Democratic Republic of Congo. His attempts to mould events there have often exacerbated a conflict now in its 14th year.
Occasionally, though, Mr Kagame has a way of stating the obvious about his giant neighbour that shows up the failure of other would-be meddlers. There are two prerequisites, he remarked to me late last year, if peace is to be restored to the territory over which the Kinshasa government theoretically presides.
“If they could have a strong army, that would help them. But they should also have a political system that works. They need to have both ideally, but at least they should have one. To lack both is terrible!”
Despite hosting the most expensive United Nations mission ever undertaken in Africa, Congo is no closer today to having either.
UNITED NATIONS -- The U.N. Security Council on Monday renewed sanctions against rebel groups in eastern Congo, despite a U.N. report that said the measures had so far failed to stop exports of gold and other minerals that have financed a decadelong war there in which millions of civilians have been killed.
Monday's resolution asks U.N. member nations to "ensure importers, processing industries and consumers of Congolese mineral products under their jurisdiction exercise due diligence on their suppliers and on the origin of the minerals they purchase."
The resolution doesn't mention any companies or countries, but the U.N. experts' report, which is to be released in the next few weeks, does. The report, which was reviewed by news organizations including The Wall Street Journal, blames Uganda, Rwanda and the United Arab Emirates for running a trading network of smuggled gold and other minerals.
Unlike in the diamond industry, no formal certification process exists to ensure conflict-free gold. Earthworks hopes that the No Dirty Gold coalition will help fuel the creation of such a system that “assures consumers and retailers that the gold they are buying has been produced in ways that minimize harm to people or the environment.”
A powerful segment on CBS’ 60 Minutes last night demonstrated with stark clarity how the trade in conflict gold is a major source of funding for armed groups that target civilian populations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The supply chain in gold can be made conflict-free through the same three steps that Enough has recommended for other conflict minerals.