The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a place of incredible beauty and diversity marred by twenty years of war and underdevelopment that has resulted in the deaths of over five million people. It has been a battleground for over fifty different rebel groups and nine foreign militaries empowered by their violent control over the resources and communities in the east. Armed groups have dominated the extraction and trade of resources like tin, tantalum, and gold that end up in our cell phones and automobiles by raping, murdering, and terrorizing hundreds of thousands of Congolese.
However, recent local, regional, national, and international efforts have improved the situation in eastern Congo, resulting in fewer rebel groups, a more effective UN peacekeeping force, and incentivized legal extraction and trade of resources, especially to the West. The US Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 supported this progress through greater accountability for American companies that source from the Great Lakes Region (GLR) of Africa (the majority of those with electrical components in their products), ultimately reducing the monetary support enabling armed groups to continue to terrorize eastern Congo.
But there is still a long road to sustainable peace and development in eastern Congo. We can help this process in three ways:
- Get informed! Check out the resources on our website and on the websites of our partners
- Engage with your leaders: check out our current campaign to pass conflict-free Massachusetts legislation and activities with the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative (CFCI)
- Talk to your friends and family – the more people that are aware of the current situation in eastern Congo, the more we can achieve!