Conflict Free Technology

conflictfree.pngConflict-free technology is a campaign launched by Justice in Mining member, ALBOAN, a Jesuit NGO based in Spain, to draw attention to the connection between mobile phones, tablets and computers and the war in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Alboan is working with other groups, including Jesuit Missions UK and the Jesuit European Social Centre, to campaign for regulations that ensure technology manufacturers conduct due diligence into their supply chains and establish whether manufacturing components are contributing to conflict and violence.

The DRC, particularly the eastern part of the country, is one of the world’s richest mining regions. It contains 80% of the world’s reserves of coltan, a mineral without which the information and communication technology revolution, especially mobile phones, would not have been possible.

In addition to coltan, there are three other key minerals which are essential to information technology: gold, tungsten and tin. They are the so called “conflict minerals” or more crudely “blood minerals”.

Their extraction, processing and sale is controlled by armed groups which have made the Congo a living hell, with a death toll of over five million since 1998. Fighting forced one million people from their homes in 2013 alone. Rape is used as a weapon of war – over 100,000 women are raped each year.

These “blood-tainted” minerals are hidden in our mobile phones. This means that when we buy a mobile phone, we may be channelling money to the armed groups responsible for so much suffering and reinforcing their control over the mines and the exploitation of the people who work in them.

ALBOAN is working to build massive public support for its campaign, mobilising people to sign a petition to persuade political representatives and companies to regulate.

You can find out more about the campaign, and what you can do to help, here.

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