Then and Now: past campaigns can help new ones

Global Witness is an advocacy campaign that I have mentioned previously in my blog.  They were one of the first organizations to bring the world’s attention to the problem of conflict diamonds.  They released a report “A Rough Trade” in 1998 exposing the role of diamonds in funding the civil war in Angola.  This publicized the secret trade practices of the diamond industry in many African regions. 

Thanks to Global Witness, international pressure helped force governments take action to eliminate conflict diamonds from international trade.  It introduced the Kimberly process in 2003 which certifies that diamonds are not fueling conflict.  Global Witness is using their expertise in the blood diamonds campagn to fight to make sure cell phones are also free from the taint of conflict human rights abuses. 

Despite some difficult attempts at industry self-regulation, Global Witness is working hard for both campaigns.  They were nominated for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for their work combating conflict diamonds.  They were recognized for all their hard work almost a decade ago, and shows perseverence in their campaign against conflict minerals now.

Here is more information regarding the Kimberly Process.  Hopefully we can use the same campaign strategies to establish a similar process to ensure conflict free cell phones. 

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About Samapti Rahman

For more than a century, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC) has been plagued by regional conflict and a deadly scramble for its vast natural resources. More recently, the global demand for cell phones and computer chips is helping fuel a bloody civil war, resembling the conflicts that developed over blood diamonds in the 1990s. Armed groups earn hundreds of millions of dollars per year by trading four main minerals such as the ores that produce tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold. This money enables the militias to purchase large numbers of weapons and continue their campaign of brutal violence against civilians, with some of the worst abuses occurring in mining areas. The majority of these minerals eventually wind up in electronic devices such as cell phones, and computers. Major American and International companies continue to trade for these high demand minerals, leaving consumers no way to ensure that their purchases are not financing armed groups that regularly commit atrocities, including mass rape. Let's clean up the Congo and take a stance against trade practices that promote violence!
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One Response to Then and Now: past campaigns can help new ones

  1. jialrt says:

    The Kimberly process was a critical turning point in CSR, one hope that those initiatives can continue to be replicated withing other MNC’s who profit obscenely from those injustices…..you may find this interesting!

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