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Democratic Republic of Congo

    August 23, 2013

    Warring parties in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo must step up efforts to protect civilians from attacks, Amnesty International urged after a small child and a woman were killed and nearly two dozen wounded amid shelling on Thursday.

    The shelling attack hit three areas of the eastern town of Goma on 22 August, resulting in 21 civilians and one soldier being treated for injuries. An eight-year-old child and a woman among the wounded later died. The origin of the attack is not yet known.

    “Such loss of life is tragic and a violation of international humanitarian law,” said Lucy Freeman, Deputy Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.  

    August 15, 2013

    By Audrey Gaughran, Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International

    I have just left Katanga in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where my colleague Lisa Tassi and I were following up on Amnesty International’s work on mining and human rights in the region.

    In some ways this is easy to do. Besides mining – mostly of copper and cobalt – precious little happens in southern Katanga. But two very different methods are employed to extract these minerals. Industrial mining, involving large multinational companies, is managed from air-conditioned offices and carried out with heavy equipment; small-scale artisanal mining is frequently done in sweltering heat by men (and in some cases boys under the age of 18) working with basic tools.

    Artisanal mining can be a desperate business. On top of suffering harsh work conditions, many creuseurs – meaning “diggers”, as the miners are known locally – are ruthlessly exploited by traders who buy from them along a largely opaque supply chain. In theory the state has some oversight of the system, but the reality is quite different.

    June 19, 2013

    Chinese mining companies operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) need to do more to prevent their operations from leading to human rights abuses, Amnesty International warned today in a new report.

    Profits and Loss: Mining and human rights in Katanga, examines the impact of the mining industry in south-eastern DRC. 

    The report documents a number of serious abuses involving local and foreign companies including forced evictions – illegal under international law – and dangerous and exploitative working conditions.

    The report pays particular attention to the role of Chinese companies, which are on course to become the most influential and powerful foreign economic actors in the extractive sector in the DRC – a country with some of the world’s most important mineral reserves.

    China also imports significant amounts of cobalt and copper from the DRC, much of which continues to be extracted by small-scale miners – also known as artisanal miners – using handheld tools, and often working in terrible conditions.

    March 19, 2013

    The United States and Rwandan governments must move quickly to ensure the safe surrender of Bosco Ntaganda, to the International Criminal Court (ICC), Amnesty International said today.

    The US State Department confirmed that Bosco Ntaganda – who heads a faction of the M23 armed group - arrived at the US Embassy in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, on 18 March 2013 and requested to be transferred to The Hague. The US pledged to facilitate this request.

    Amnesty International is calling on the US and Rwandan authorities to ensure that Bosco Ntaganda’s rights are protected pending his transfer to the ICC, where he can face a fair trial with full respect for his rights.

    “Surrendering Bosco Ntaganda to the ICC should act as a strong deterrent to others and help break persistent cycles of impunity that wrack eastern DRC,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Africa Director.

    “Bosco Ntaganda is accused by the ICC of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ituri, eastern DRC in 2002 and 2003. Crimes that caused untold suffering to the people of eastern DRC.”

     

    Children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) inhale toxic dust as they mine the cobalt that powers the batteries we rely on for our phones and laptops. Yet electronics manufacturers – global brands including Apple and Samsung – won’t tell us if their cobalt supply chains are tainted by child labour. They have a responsibility to do so –to check for and address child labour in their supply chains, setting an example for the rest of the industry to follow.

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