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Break the Silence – Congo Week 2011 October 19th, 2011

Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is far from over. Insecurity continues to plague parts of the eastern Congo and horrifying stories of rape and other forms of human rights abuses are still being reported. In order to raise awareness around the world of this situation in Congo, Break the Silence – Congo 2011 is being marked from October 16 to October 22, 2011. The aim of Congo advocacy is to raise awareness about the devastating situation in the Congo and mobilize support on behalf of the people of the Congo.

DRC is a major source for many minerals such as coltan, which is used in electronics like cell phones and laptops. Unfortunately, funding for armed groups in Congo comes from the sale of these minerals often to technology companies in Europe and North America.

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Democratic Republic of Congo: Celebrating 50 Years of Independence! June 29th, 2010

On 30th June 2010, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its independence from Belgium. The DRC has been described as the ‘heart of Africa’ and is home to enormous natural wealth and resources. However, for the last two decades, Congo has been caught up in armed conflict selling-minerals-congodescribed as one the world’s deadliest. The fighting in the eastern DRC is fueled in large part by conflict minerals which include coltan (columbite-tantalite), cassiterite (tin ore) and wolframite (tungsten). These metals are used in consumer electronics such as cell phones and laptop computers. The Congo conflict has left millions of people dead. Thousands of women have been victimized by rape and countless children have been kidnapped to serve as child soldiers.

Marking the 50th Independence anniversary during the annual meeting of the Catholic Bishops, Bishop Nicolas Djomo, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Congo, said that the independence anniversary is an opportune time to offer prayers of thanks to God for a sense of belonging to a united nation and to ask God’s forgiveness for omissions and opportunities lost. He went on further to say that the anniversary is a time to renew a commitment to promoting the common good and national solidarity.

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Conflict Mineral Trade Act 2009 Introduced in the US House of Representatives November 20th, 2009

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Oblates visit a war refugee camp in DRC

On November 19, the United States House of Representatives introduced the Conflict Minerals Trade Act of 2009. The bill was introduced by Congressman Jim McDermott (D-Washington), with co-sponsorship from Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) and Frank Wolf (R-Virginia). A coalition of faith based organizations and international nonprofit organizations concerned about conflict stemming from minerals extraction are encouraged by this Congressional action. The bill has also received support from various stakeholders in the electronics industry. To make this bill a reality, though, you need to urge your Congressional Representative to cosponsor the Conflict Minerals Trade Act of 2009 (HR 4128). Find your Representative on the House.gov website.

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