Comité de la Fédération de Solidarité avec l'Afrique Noire http://www.umoya.org Bukavu ( D.R. Congo)
The Congo, COLTAN War… and… and… Your Cell Phone
Where is the Democratic Republic of Congo? And what does it have to do with your cell phone ?
Population : 70 million people. Life expectancy : 47 years. Surface area : 2 340 000 km² Capital : Kinshasa Président : Joseph Kabila The world’s largest ecologic and mineral reserves It has 80% of the world’s coltan. Democratic Republic of Congo
What is Coltan ? « white Gold » Coltan is an abbreviation for the minerals columbite and tantalium. It is very rare in nature It is a strategic resource for the development of new technologies. Col + tan = coltán
What is it used for ? For making : Cell phones, GPS, satellites, radio guided missiles, televisions plasma screens, video game consoles, computers, laptops, PDA, MP3, MP4, rockets, drones, electronic games, cameras...
Where is it found? Thaïlande 5 % Brésil 5 % Afrique 80 % Australia10 %
A typical coltan miner A good worker can produce 1 kilo of coltan a day. Average salery for a paid worker in the Congo 10$ a month. Many work as unpaid or slave laborers The technology boom has caused the price of coltan to soar to 500$ a kilo. Companies like Bayer, Nokia et Sony push the price war
Who works in the mines ? - Young farmers and herders who have their land. - War refugees. - Prisoners of war. - Thousands of children, whose small bodies can easily crawl in tiny spaces within the mines -Always guarded by soldiers.
Consequences of the situation; Forests and fields are transformed into swamps. Boys and girls no longer go to school. Numerous illness due to; lack of potable water, lack of food, hard labor, exposure to contagious diseases,such as HIV, all lead to early death Armed groups fight to control coltan rich areas. Each kilo of extracted Coltan cost the lives of two children. Many children die as the result of landslides and mine collapses
Other consequences; Thousands of forced displacements Thousands forced to flee their homes Millions of refugees. Sexual violence against women and young girls.
Consequences for people and wildlife To extract coltan the national parks of the Congo have been invaded. Workers in coltan mines work from sunrise to sunset. They live off the land in the mountains, depleting resources. They no longer farm agricultural areas. The elephants population has been reduced 80%. The gorilles population had been reduced 90%.
Who finances these disasters? A UN report has denounced the exploitation of the natural resources of the Congo Reports implicate Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi in the trafficing of Coltan. These countries in turn use the profits to continue the wars in the Congo. Who do they buy their arms from? It has been estimated that the Rwandan army has received at least 250 millions dollars in 18 months thanks to the sale of coltan, even it Rwanda itself has no coltan. The implicated countries all denie thier involvement in the coltan trade.
Why should they stop this war? International companies like: Nokia Alcatel Apple Nikon Ericsson Bayer... Are highlighted in the UN reports as« profiteers ». They help finance the coltan wars and sustain corupt governments
Why has the international community not stopped this war ? Because the principal manufacturers of; computers, cellphones and video games… do not want it to stop, Under pressure from numerous governemnts, the media avoids talking about it. Stopping the war would force companies to obtain coltan legitimately at fair market value, while insuring humaine work conditions, thus increasing the cost of coltan and decreasing comapny profits
What can be done? LET THE WORLD KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON DENOUNCE what is happening. Spread the word to others Think about how you can reduce consumption Buy from companies that have pledged to use “Conflict Free Minerals” Set up recycling points for cell phones and electronics
Keep informed and share what you know Youtube. Texts Facebook. Twitter… And You?… And Me ?… A better future for the congolese people depends on you ! Tell your friends, tes family, tes coworkers…
In Conclusion … The Congo is the poorest country in the world despite being the worlds richest depository of natural resources The country is bled by the greed of multinational companies in collusion with major governments. Our life style and hunger for technology feeds the violence and human rights abuses in the Congo.