Eastern Congo

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Violence warned over US dropping conflict minerals rule
By ABC News

Increased violence and corruption in central Africa could be the result of the recent decision by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission not to enforce a rule requiring American companies to report their use of conflict minerals, warn Congolese civic groups, rights groups and U.S. senators.

“The conflict minerals rule has played a critical role in reducing violence in mining areas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, who recently signed a letter with five other Democratic senators urging the SEC to uphold the rule.

The conflict minerals reporting rule, part of the Dodd-Frank financial regulations law, has largely been successful in ensuring that minerals worth trillions of dollars don’t benefit armed rebel groups blamed for human rights abuses, a coalition of groups from Congo and southern Africa told the SEC in a series of public comments earlier this year. In an opposing view, some business groups in the U.S. dismissed the regulation as ineffective and an unnecessary burden.

In April, acting SEC chairman Michael Piwowar said his organization will no longer enforce the 2012 rule that requires companies to verify their products do not use tantalum, tin, gold or tungsten that have been mined or trafficked by armed groups in Congo and other central African countries. Although the SEC is independent from the Trump administration, Piwowar was designated as acting chairman by Trump, and the SEC’s action appears to be in line with the president’s view that the government should reduce regulations of company operations.

In addition to the SEC action, Republican legislation to roll back the Dodd-Frank law, expected to pass the House in coming weeks, would repeal the conflict minerals rule. The bill’s prospects in the Senate are unclear.

Armed rebels and criminal gangs have been funded for decades by the illicit trade in Congo’s minerals, estimated to be worth $24 trillion, according to the U.N. The minerals are essential ingredients in smart phones, laptops, tablets and other high-tech products.

Dropping the conflict minerals rule implicitly supports conflict in the Great Lakes region, Leonard Birere, president of the Coalition of Anti-Slavery Civil Society Organizations in Goma, Congo, told The Associated Press in an email.

“The activity of the armed groups in the mining sites had decreased substantially as well as their capacity for violence” due to the conflict minerals regulation, Birere said.

Some leading American companies also support the conflict minerals regulations. “Apple believes there is little doubt that there is a need to enhance gold trading due diligence,” the company wrote in its 2016 conflict minerals report to the SEC…

Congolese groups have a nuanced understanding of the conflict minerals rule. When the regulation was introduced in 2012, many U.S. companies pulled out of Congo.

“All sectors of our economy were suffocated or very nearly ground to a halt,” wrote a group of 31 civic organizations in eastern Congo to the SEC. But eventually the rule helped to cut off funds for armed groups and reduce child labor in mines, according to the coalition, the Thematic Working Group on Mining and Natural Resources.

The crackdown on illicit mining succeeded in reducing opportunities for armed groups to exploit the illegal trading of minerals, according to a report last year by the U.N. panel of experts monitoring sanctions on Congo.

Eastern Congo has experienced insecurity for decades from a myriad of rebel groups. More than 16,000 U.N. peacekeepers are based in the Congo with one of the world’s most aggressive mandates to defeat militia groups.

The conflict minerals rule “undoubtedly contributes to reducing the rate of crime and human rights violations, including rape of women and exploitation of children in mining areas,” 41 Congo-based non-profit organizations related to natural resources wrote to the SEC . “All these efforts and progress will be destroyed if the U.S. government decides to contradict itself.”

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DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. 2012-2013. Produced in North and South Kivu. Film stills from The Enclave by Richard Mosse. [6/13]

The Irish photographer filmed strange footage of the country using a special surveillance film once used by the military. Picking up invisible infra-red rays given off by plant life, the film makes any greenery show up in ‘bubblegum’ pink, meaning guerilla soldiers could be spotted among the leaves.

Civil war has been happening in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for many years. Since 1998, the nation has seen 5.4 million war-related deaths.

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Wagenia/ Wagenya Fishermen

The Wagenya (Enya ethnic group) live in Kisangani, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. They are known and famous for their fishing technique. Fishing and the Congo river are a central part of Wagenya life. Wagenya boys undergo circumcision around the age of 12, the ritual is done on the banks of the Congo river and the foreskin is thrown into the river after the ceremony has concluded. The Wagenya say the Congo river is the river of their ancestors, legends states that a Wagenya can never die in the river because their ancestors’ village is located under the falls and it protects them. Fishing is part of Wagenya culture, the knowledge of how to build tolimo-s is passed down father to son. The tolimo-s are a collective symbol of Wagenya culture and identity. This tradition has existed hundreds of years before Henry Morton Stanley first observed them in 1877. 

[Images by: Ghassen Marzouki, Pascal Maitre and  Andrew McConnell]

watch a video of them fishing 

Ben Affleck gave a presentation to elementary school children in LA on Thursday (February 9, 2017) about his work with the Eastern Congo Initiative.

He was joined by his mother Chris Boldt, a retired public elementary school teacher, who gave a presentation on education in Uganda. 

The visit was organised by the non-profit organisation KidUnity, as part of their service learning and civic leadership programs.

Jennifer Garner gave a presentation to the group in January about her advocacy work with Save the Children.

Source 1 | 2 | 3

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DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. 2012-2013. Produced in North and South Kivu. Film stills from The Enclave by Richard Mosse. [1/13]

The Irish photographer filmed strange footage of the country using a special surveillance film once used by the military. Picking up invisible infra-red rays given off by plant life, the film makes any greenery show up in ‘bubblegum’ pink, meaning guerilla soldiers could be spotted among the leaves.

Civil war has been happening in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for many years. Since 1998, the nation has seen 5.4 million war-related deaths.

en-tonos-pastel  asked:

Hi, I found your blog just a while ago and I really like it. Would you please help me to find a word that can express something similar to " I forgive but never forget"???

Ilunga is a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time.

In June 2004, “ilunga”, which comes from the Tshiluba language (a Bantu language spoken in south-eastern Congo, and Zaire), and in the opinion of 1,000 linguists, was deemed the world’s most difficult word to translate.

The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.
— Thomas Szasz

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DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. 2012-2013. Fighters and victims of the Kivu Conflict; often both at the same time. Produced in North and South Kivu. Film stills from The Enclave by Richard Mosse. [13/13]

The Irish photographer filmed strange footage of the country using a special surveillance film once used by the military. Picking up invisible infra-red rays given off by plant life, the film makes any greenery show up in ‘bubblegum’ pink, meaning guerilla soldiers could be spotted among the leaves.

Civil war has been happening in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for many years. Since 1998, the nation has seen 5.4 million war-related deaths.