By Elizabeth Willoughby on
In a video clip produced by ENOUGH Project, actor and activist Robin Wright says eastern Congo is the worst place on Earth to be a woman, and that “the link between conflict minerals and sexual violence is undeniable.”
Armed groups in the Congo fight for control of mines because the proceeds from the sale of the mineral resources is lucrative. To keep control of mines and trade routes, rebel groups use intimidation, pillaging local villages, murdering, raping girls and women and kidnapping young boys to use as soldiers – perpetual violence. Congo’s minerals are necessary components in electronic products that we use everyday, but Wright cannot reconcile the human rights violations with the ability to send a text message.
When Wright traveled to the Congo with ENOUGH Project for its RAISE Hope For Congo campaign last year, she was shocked by what she heard from the women and children she met.
“May God make use of you and be our spokesperson to [US President] Obama that we are suffering here," said one Congolese woman to Wright. "Can you also please reach out to Hillary Clinton – that rape is still raging here. We’re being kidnapped, raped on a daily basis. We are kind of hopeless."
Wright also met former child soldiers during her visit, some as young as eight. “Boys,” she says, “who have been forced to kill, forced to rape, watch possibly their mothers being raped. The atrocities that go on in this country are so immense.”
If people knew more about the electronic products they buy, Wright feels most would choose to buy products that did not contain minerals mined from conflict areas, and this would result in electronic companies sourcing minerals from non-conflict mines. For this, she suggests the creation of an internationally-backed certification system.
“It is our governments’ responsibility and the electronics companies’ responsibility to implement a mineral certification scheme,” she says. “It has to be done. The amount of deaths that have occurred because of this conflict – it has to stop.”
At an IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp, Wright asked the women what message they wanted her to bring back to America. This was the answer she kept hearing: “Mama Hillary Clinton. I think this is no secret to you that our wealth is being plundered and that’s why we’re being raped. So please, can you deliver on your promises to bring peace in this region?”
“These women,” says Wright, “their eyes see that we get it. They know that we can do something about it.”
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