Conflict minerals: Responsible sourcing is a duty, not a choice says Michael Gibb, campaign leader at Global Witness

Author: Michael Gibb, BusinessWorld Online (Philippines), Published on: 7 December 2014

"Common sense on conflict minerals", 7 December 2014

Natural resources should be a major contributor to development in some of the countries that need it most. And yet, in some of world’s poorest and most fragile states, they bring just the opposite. In many of these countries, the trade in natural resources motivates, funds and prolongs conflict and egregious human rights abuses. Resources such as diamonds, gold, tungsten, tantalum and tin are mined, smuggled and illegally taxed by violent armed groups, and provide off-budget funding to abusive militaries and security services. Consider just four African countries: Sudan, South Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Together, these resource-rich countries account for just over 13% of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa, but some 55% of the region’s internally displaced persons...due to conflict...The deadly trade in conflict resources is facilitated by supply chains that feed major consumer markets, such as the European Union and the United States...Natural resources, such as tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold -- all minerals that have been linked in some parts of the world to conflict and human rights abuses -- are found in our jewelry, cars, mobile phones, etc...Since 2010, companies working in conflict areas have had a global standard at their disposal...Responsible sourcing is a duty, not a choice...

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