In August, I traveled with actress Ashley Judd to the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, known as one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman or girl. We visited camps for displaced people, mines, civil society organizations, and hospitals treating survivors of sexual violence.
Yesterday, CNN.com published an opinion piece that Ashley and I wrote calling for action on a U.S.-led certification scheme for conflict minerals, which are fueling the war and unimaginable gender violence in eastern Congo. Here's an excerpt:
A silver lining has emerged in the dark clouds that have hung over eastern Congo for the last decade and a half of war and human rights atrocities. A bill recently passed in Congress and signed by President Obama has targeted the deadly trade in conflict minerals originating from the Congo that power our cell phones, laptops and other electronic devices while fueling the deadliest war in the world.
The bill and the corresponding consumer movement in the United States demanding conflict-free electronics products has sent a signal to those profiting from this deadly trade that the status quo of horrific gender violence is unacceptable, the profits purchased with so much Congolese blood are at risk, and that change is required. The window of opportunity for leveraging peace is huge.
Click here for the full piece.
John Prendergast is Co-Founder of Enough, the anti-genocide project at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C.