The conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been called “Africa’s World War.” It encompasses six African nations, and upwards of twenty-five armed groups. Human rights violations have been wide-spread and devastating. It is estimated that the thirteen year long conflict has left 6 million dead, and hundreds of thousands more displaced. Mass rape has also been a weapon used by rebel groups; over 300,000 women have been raped. Looting, and the conscription of child soldiers have also been defining characteristics of the conflict.
The Concordia Initiative for a Conflict Free Campus (CICC) strives to raise awareness within the student body regarding the connection between mineral extraction and the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Minerals ores, like Coltan, are used in cell phones, laptop computers, and numerous other electronic devices and their extraction directly funds war and violence in the Congo.
In an era of globalization, where corporations rival the sovereignty of the nation-state, the power of the consumer can be harnessed to dictate the market. CICC encourages students of Concordia University to use their consumer power to tell the administration that we don’t want to fund war in the DRC by purchasing conflict minerals. We ask the Board of Governors to amend Concordia’s purchasing policy when it comes to electronics. Our goal is to encourage companies to work actively towards the production of conflict free products.
Four prominent guest speakers will be sharing their expertise and will provide professional, educational and informative answers to the questions of Concordia students, faculty and the greater public. The speakers include Danish filmmaker of Blood in the Mobile Frank Poulsen; Canadian Member of Parliament from Ottawa responsible for Bill C-571, the “Trade in Conflict Minerals Act”, Paul Dewar; Canadian Author of Noir Canada Alain Deneault, and Congolese activist Kambalé Musavuli. The forum is to be hosted by CICC and Concordia Political Science associate professor Dr. Leander Schneider.