The minerals of the Congo have been contested in several ways as propelling the consecutive wars that have been taking place in this part of the Congo. These minerals are excavated illegally on the price of human lives and ecosystem destruction. Women, young girls and children living in these areas have often been victims of these illicit mineral excavations. These odious acts of barbarism ( raping girls and women, killing of local population, unpaid jobs obliged to men and women, damage of the ecosystem, etc...) are often perpetrated by the Interahamwe Militia from Rwanda, the rebels, the local soldiers and even UN peacekeepers units operating in the area. Consequently, girls and women have got unwanted pregnancies; which cause them a lot of trauma and other troubles. These minerals have been being excavated on demand of western markets for manufacturing mobile phones, gun bullets computers and other gadgets.
However, in the middle of this week there were held discussions between the experts of the 10 country members of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region-ICGLR. This meeting took place in Bujumbura-Burundi. Its aim was to define the strategies of scaling down and even abolish the purchase of these ‘blood minerals’. Indeed, every parcel of minerals in movement in the Great Lakes Region of Africa-GLR will be accompanied with a certificate that is specifically issued by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region-ICGLR.
Next November 2010, in Kinshasa there will be held a summit of the heads of states of this region in which they should ratify this suggestion. In fact, such a summit will be very helpful provided that every country accepts to end both the exploitation and the business of illegal minerals in the region, particularly those from the Congo, noted the executive Secretary of the ICGLR, the Tanzanian Liberata Mulamula.
On the other hand the Congo wants to be optimistic and to on lead on this issue; this will probably be achieved only if the state members are truly committed to harmonize their mineral laws and share information on them. But this cannot bring successful outcomes as long as peace in this region is still dubious. The new process would deny all the armed groups to have access to financial resources and this equally would limit their exactions on women and children of this area. The illegal exploitation of these resources of the Congo makes it lose almost between 180 and 300 million US$. Some independent NGO of whom Global Witness have denounced, in 2009, the straight link which is between these minerals exploitation and the interests of all the armed groups based in the region.
We hope the leaders of these states will be committed to implement what is stated ahead, which may be a real way out from violence in the region and a window for peace.