Exploitation in the DRC fuels mining trade: Apple, Dell look the other way

Prominent US and multinational companies such as Apple, Dell, Motorola, Nokia, and Hewlett-Packard are among the businesses pinpointed as culprits in an unflinching, new report released by Global Witness that details the often noxious connections between the illegal mining trade, widespread human rights abuses and tech and mining firms.

The detailed analysis provides excellent current background on the situation, and names the names of companies operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that trade in minerals in ways that ignore corporate social responsibility and perpetuate the conflict.

High-tech human rights abuses

The illegal mining and horrific human rights abuses against civilians – including the use of child soldiers and sexual violence as a weapon of war – have previously prompted a UN Expert Panel review that resulted in a large number of companies reforming their activities or leaving the country.  Yet the new Global Witness report is clear: “no effective action has been taken to stop this murderous trade.” Global Witness states that it is not calling for a complete trade embargo or targeting artisanal mining per se, but is focusing on stopping the mining intertwined with conflict and abuse.

In many ways, the DRC’s plight hearkens back to colonialism and chartered companies empowered to make war in order to capture resources.  But today’s neo-colonialism is more indirect and up-to-date, being linked to some of the world’s most sophisticated new technologies.  The minerals cassiterite (tin ore) and coltan are important components in cell phones, computers, and other electronic devices, and the DRC is a primary global source.

Violations in the region have continued despite the recent rapprochement between the DRC and Rwanda and the integration into the Congolese army of one of the leading rebel groups (the Congrès national pour la défense du people, or CNDP, whose leader Bosco Ntaganda is wanted by the International Criminal Court).  Both the army and remaining rebel groups such as the Forces démocratiques pour la libération du Rwanda (FDLR) are implicated in the illegal mining and abuses – even cooperating at times with each other as well as with the companies to share the spoils.  Rule of law in the DRC is either weak or, in many provinces, effectively absent.

The new report states that the named companies exploiting this lack of oversight had almost no controls or due diligence processes to ensure that their supply chain contained no conflict minerals.

Global brands such as many of these companies  participate in industry initiatives including the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct which require them to hold suppliers to high standards.  Yet “suppliers” has often been interpreted to apply to middlemen but not suppliers further down the supply chain.

Apple’s stance leaves much to be desired

When questioned about these specific practices and their obligations to uphold certain standards, companies generally pointed to generic corporate social responsibility statements.  Only in rare cases did companies seem to recognize the need for greater due diligence.  In most cases, no sense of urgency or clear commitment to applying checks to the entire supply chain was expressed.  Instead, companies relied frequently on the fact that they purchased from licensed exporters.

In a statement accompanying release of the report, Global Witness Director Patrick Alley stated:

It is not good enough for companies to say they buy only from licensed exporters, when they know full well that their middlemen buy from armed groups. The failure of governments to hold companies to account, of Burundi and Rwanda to restrict the trade across their borders, and of donors and diplomats to address explicitly the role of the mineral trade, have all contributed to the continuation of a conflict that has killed millions and displaced many more.

Apple’s response was a bare bones reference to its supplier responsibility policy (via a web link that no longer works).  Nokia, at least, gave the more commendable explanation that while it purchases raw materials through suppliers rather than directly, this “does not change the fact that we have the responsibility over everything that goes into making a Nokia product.”

Hewlett-Packard has room for improvement

Hewlett-Packard’s response shows similar progress in understanding the issue, with the company explaining that it has focused on first-tier suppliers where it thinks it “has the most influence” (an assumption that may be questioned when the underlying harms and their locations are considered).  But HP has successfully reached down to many second-tier suppliers as well, via its first tier suppliers (who have told HP that DRC coltan is “not used in their products supplied to HP”).  HP presumably does not merely accept such assertions (which would be akin to the U.S. government accepting diplomatic assurances that the countries to whom it sends terror suspects “do not torture”), but audits them to some extent.  And HP has the reputation of being better than most companies at such audit processes, stating that it is working with the first-tier suppliers of notebook computers to “map their supply chain down to the extractives level.”

Lukewarm responses Motorola and Dell

The responses from Motorola and Dell were in-between the extremes represented by the nonchalant reply from Apple, on the one hand, and the more detailed and responsive replies from Nokia and HP, on the other.  Motorola and Dell stated that they require high standards in their supply chains, expect their suppliers to do the same, and participate in industry initiatives to that end.

Moving toward real social corporate responsibility

Laudable industry initiatives such as the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) do aim to enhance traceability of minerals beyond supplier certifications to the actual mines involved, but thus far have failed to change what Nokia rightly calls a status quo that is “not  . . . acceptable.”

The continued corporate role in this conflict remains shameful and underappreciated but fundamental.  The new Global Witness report usefully reawakens slumbering attention, and clearly demonstrates the need for strengthened accountability mechanisms that truly end what the report calls “the impunity protecting those engaged in illicit mineral exploitation and trade.”

In addition to illustrating the grave risks faced by the extractive industry and companies active in conflict situations, the new report provides sensible recommendations for direly needed urgent actions by governments, corporations, individuals, the UN, and the international community at large to finally call a halt to the ongoing tragedy in the DRC.

Chip Pitts is a lecturer at Stanford Law School, former Chief Legal Officer of Nokia Inc., and former Chair of Amnesty International USA.  He is the co-author and editor of the new book, Corporate Accountability: A Legal Analysis (Lexis Nexis 2009); all the royalties from book sales will benefit human rights and sustainability charities.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

35 thoughts on “Exploitation in the DRC fuels mining trade: Apple, Dell look the other way

  1. The companies have already been contacted and made aware of the issue. We're looking into developing a follow-up letter writing action. Stay tuned to Corporate Action Network posts!

  2. The companies have already been contacted and made aware of the issue. We’re looking into developing a follow-up letter writing action. Stay tuned to Corporate Action Network posts!

  3. LOL,
    You guys at Amnesty International are such jokers.
    You accuse Dell and Apple looking the other way in the DRC, but at the same time Amnsety International has itself hypocritically looked the other way and even participated in a cover-up of the war crimes committed by MONUC—the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC.

    As reported in January 2009 by eye witnesses from Doctors Without Borders which you can read about here :
    http://doctorswithoutborders.org/publications/ale

    the so-called Peacekeeping forces of the United Nations hid inside their barracks and refused to come to the assistance of more than 900 villagers who were hacked to death.

    MONUC, the most heavily armed and financed peacekeeping mission in history, with a budget of several billion dollars a year and well equipped with helicopter gunships and tanks, simple sat by and watched pasively as these people were mass murdered. This was in direct violation of the UN security Council resolutions mandating MONUC must use all necessary force to protect the civilians of the DRC.

    As Doctors Without Borders put it:
    “MONUC must…take up its responsibilities and can no longer continue to be so absent among the inhabitants of Haut Uélé when they are being systematically attacked,” said Marc Poncin, MSF operations manager for DRC.”

    And so, what does Amnesty International in the face of a massacre of 900 civilians that occurred right under the noses of heavily armed UN peacekeeping troops who refused to interfere ?

    NOTHING. Not an investigation, not a condemnation, not a blog post, nothing. In fact, by your silence, you at Amnesty have actively participated in cover-up of the UN actions that resulted in the deaths of so many civilians just a few months ago.

    But you have no problem hypocritically condemning Dell and Apple for buying some metal on the open market.

    What a joke Amnesty has become.

  4. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) denounces MONUC—the United Nations peacekeeping force in eastern DRC—for its inaction in protecting the population.
    http://doctorswithoutborders.org/publications/ale

    "United Nations Security Council Resolution 1856 from December 22, 2008, makes protection of civilians the priority for the United Nations peacekeepers in DRC. MONUC must therefore take up its responsibilities, and can no longer continue to be so absent among the inhabitants of Haut-Uélé when they are being systematically attacked.”

    Shocked by the extreme violence of the LRA, MSF teams do not comprehend the inaction of MONUC forces regarding the protection of civilians. During a November 1, 2008 attack on Dungu, the “Blue Helmets” remained holed up in their base. Furthermore, the MONUC contingent has never intervened to protect people in towns under attack, even as attacks multiplied. The number of UN troops has remained virtually unchanged since their deployment in July 2008, despite the dramatic deterioration of the situation.

    MONUC activities do not include the evacuation of wounded civilians from recently attacked areas that can be reached by helicopter – areas that are inaccessible to humanitarian aid organizations. An example of this includes a case in Duru on January 14, when a one-year-old child suffering gunshot wounds was not transported by MONUC to the Dungu hospital for medical treatment, according to journalists aboard the helicopter."

  5. LOL,
    You guys at Amnesty International are such jokers.
    You accuse Dell and Apple looking the other way in the DRC, but at the same time Amnsety International has itself hypocritically looked the other way and even participated in a cover-up of the war crimes committed by MONUC—the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC.

    As reported in January 2009 by eye witnesses from Doctors Without Borders which you can read about here :
    http://doctorswithoutborders.org/publications/ale

    the so-called Peacekeeping forces of the United Nations hid inside their barracks and refused to come to the assistance of more than 900 villagers who were hacked to death.

    MONUC, the most heavily armed and financed peacekeeping mission in history, with a budget of several billion dollars a year and well equipped with helicopter gunships and tanks, simple sat by and watched pasively as these people were mass murdered. This was in direct violation of the UN security Council resolutions mandating MONUC must use all necessary force to protect the civilians of the DRC.

    As Doctors Without Borders put it:
    “MONUC must…take up its responsibilities and can no longer continue to be so absent among the inhabitants of Haut Uélé when they are being systematically attacked,” said Marc Poncin, MSF operations manager for DRC.”

    And so, what does Amnesty International in the face of a massacre of 900 civilians that occurred right under the noses of heavily armed UN peacekeeping troops who refused to interfere ?

    NOTHING. Not an investigation, not a condemnation, not a blog post, nothing. In fact, by your silence, you at Amnesty have actively participated in cover-up of the UN actions that resulted in the deaths of so many civilians just a few months ago.

    But you have no problem hypocritically condemning Dell and Apple for buying some metal on the open market.

    What a joke Amnesty has become.

  6. LOL,
    You guys at Amnesty International are such jokers.
    You accuse Dell and Apple looking the other way in the DRC, but at the same time Amnsety International has itself hypocritically looked the other way and even participated in a cover-up of the war crimes committed by MONUC—the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC.

    As reported in January 2009 by eye witnesses from Doctors Without Borders which you can read about here :
    http://doctorswithoutborders.org/publications/ale

    the so-called Peacekeeping forces of the United Nations hid inside their barracks and refused to come to the assistance of more than 900 villagers who were hacked to death.

    MONUC, the most heavily armed and financed peacekeeping mission in history, with a budget of several billion dollars a year and well equipped with helicopter gunships and tanks, simple sat by and watched pasively as these people were mass murdered. This was in direct violation of the UN security Council resolutions mandating MONUC must use all necessary force to protect the civilians of the DRC.

    As Doctors Without Borders put it:
    “MONUC must…take up its responsibilities and can no longer continue to be so absent among the inhabitants of Haut Uélé when they are being systematically attacked,” said Marc Poncin, MSF operations manager for DRC.”

    And so, what does Amnesty International in the face of a massacre of 900 civilians that occurred right under the noses of heavily armed UN peacekeeping troops who refused to interfere ?

    NOTHING. Not an investigation, not a condemnation, not a blog post, nothing. In fact, by your silence, you at Amnesty have actively participated in cover-up of the UN actions that resulted in the deaths of so many civilians just a few months ago.

    But you have no problem hypocritically condemning Dell and Apple for buying some metal on the open market.

    What a joke Amnesty has become.

  7. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) denounces MONUC—the United Nations peacekeeping force in eastern DRC—for its inaction in protecting the population.
    http://doctorswithoutborders.org/publications/ale

    "United Nations Security Council Resolution 1856 from December 22, 2008, makes protection of civilians the priority for the United Nations peacekeepers in DRC. MONUC must therefore take up its responsibilities, and can no longer continue to be so absent among the inhabitants of Haut-Uélé when they are being systematically attacked.”

    Shocked by the extreme violence of the LRA, MSF teams do not comprehend the inaction of MONUC forces regarding the protection of civilians. During a November 1, 2008 attack on Dungu, the “Blue Helmets” remained holed up in their base. Furthermore, the MONUC contingent has never intervened to protect people in towns under attack, even as attacks multiplied. The number of UN troops has remained virtually unchanged since their deployment in July 2008, despite the dramatic deterioration of the situation.

    MONUC activities do not include the evacuation of wounded civilians from recently attacked areas that can be reached by helicopter – areas that are inaccessible to humanitarian aid organizations. An example of this includes a case in Duru on January 14, when a one-year-old child suffering gunshot wounds was not transported by MONUC to the Dungu hospital for medical treatment, according to journalists aboard the helicopter."

  8. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) denounces MONUC—the United Nations peacekeeping force in eastern DRC—for its inaction in protecting the population.
    http://doctorswithoutborders.org/publications/ale

    "United Nations Security Council Resolution 1856 from December 22, 2008, makes protection of civilians the priority for the United Nations peacekeepers in DRC. MONUC must therefore take up its responsibilities, and can no longer continue to be so absent among the inhabitants of Haut-Uélé when they are being systematically attacked.”

    Shocked by the extreme violence of the LRA, MSF teams do not comprehend the inaction of MONUC forces regarding the protection of civilians. During a November 1, 2008 attack on Dungu, the “Blue Helmets” remained holed up in their base. Furthermore, the MONUC contingent has never intervened to protect people in towns under attack, even as attacks multiplied. The number of UN troops has remained virtually unchanged since their deployment in July 2008, despite the dramatic deterioration of the situation.

    MONUC activities do not include the evacuation of wounded civilians from recently attacked areas that can be reached by helicopter – areas that are inaccessible to humanitarian aid organizations. An example of this includes a case in Duru on January 14, when a one-year-old child suffering gunshot wounds was not transported by MONUC to the Dungu hospital for medical treatment, according to journalists aboard the helicopter."

  9. LOL,
    You guys at Amnesty International are such jokers.
    You accuse Dell and Apple looking the other way in the DRC, but at the same time Amnsety International has itself hypocritically looked the other way and even participated in a cover-up of the war crimes committed by MONUC—the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC.

    As reported in January 2009 by eye witnesses from Doctors Without Borders which you can read about here :

    http://doctorswithoutborders.org/publications/alert/article.cfm?id=3482&cat=alert-article

    the so-called Peacekeeping forces of the United Nations hid inside their barracks and refused to come to the assistance of more than 900 villagers who were hacked to death.

    MONUC, the most heavily armed and financed peacekeeping mission in history, with a budget of several billion dollars a year and well equipped with helicopter gunships and tanks, simple sat by and watched pasively as these people were mass murdered. This was in direct violation of the UN security Council resolutions mandating MONUC must use all necessary force to protect the civilians of the DRC.

    As Doctors Without Borders put it:
    “MONUC must…take up its responsibilities and can no longer continue to be so absent among the inhabitants of Haut Uélé when they are being systematically attacked,” said Marc Poncin, MSF operations manager for DRC.”

    And so, what does Amnesty International in the face of a massacre of 900 civilians that occurred right under the noses of heavily armed UN peacekeeping troops who refused to interfere ?

    NOTHING. Not an investigation, not a condemnation, not a blog post, nothing. In fact, by your silence, you at Amnesty have actively participated in cover-up of the UN actions that resulted in the deaths of so many civilians just a few months ago.

    But you have no problem hypocritically condemning Dell and Apple for buying some metal on the open market.

    What a joke Amnesty has become.

  10. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) denounces MONUC—the United Nations peacekeeping force in eastern DRC—for its inaction in protecting the population.

    http://doctorswithoutborders.org/publications/alert/article.cfm?id=3482&cat=alert-article

    “United Nations Security Council Resolution 1856 from December 22, 2008, makes protection of civilians the priority for the United Nations peacekeepers in DRC. MONUC must therefore take up its responsibilities, and can no longer continue to be so absent among the inhabitants of Haut-Uélé when they are being systematically attacked.”

    Shocked by the extreme violence of the LRA, MSF teams do not comprehend the inaction of MONUC forces regarding the protection of civilians. During a November 1, 2008 attack on Dungu, the “Blue Helmets” remained holed up in their base. Furthermore, the MONUC contingent has never intervened to protect people in towns under attack, even as attacks multiplied. The number of UN troops has remained virtually unchanged since their deployment in July 2008, despite the dramatic deterioration of the situation.

    MONUC activities do not include the evacuation of wounded civilians from recently attacked areas that can be reached by helicopter – areas that are inaccessible to humanitarian aid organizations. An example of this includes a case in Duru on January 14, when a one-year-old child suffering gunshot wounds was not transported by MONUC to the Dungu hospital for medical treatment, according to journalists aboard the helicopter.”

  11. Amnesty International has documented, reported on, and continues to call for action with regards to the ongoing atrocities in North Kivu. See AI's report "No End to War on Women and Children" Index: AFR 62/005/2008 (http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR62/005/2008/en/f23caedf-8e4a-11dd-8e5e-43ea85d15a69/afr620052008en.html). In it you will notice that AI calls on MONUC to "ensure that civilians in the area of operations are at all times protected, and that effective humanitarian plans accompany military plans to cater for fleeing or trapped civilians."

    I am including these additional references, to clear up misinformed comments by Judo Nimh on this blog:

    1. An AI research team was present recording the stories of Congolese fleeing DRC (see 22 December 2008 http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/huma

    2. Amnesty International published an "Open Letter to the United Nations Security Council on strengthening the arms embargo on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)" on 15 December 2008. http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGAFR6

    3. Amnesty has also recently (18 February 2009) demanded the United Nations Mission in Sudan assist in providing the whereabouts of Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen so that they can be held accountable for war crimes. See http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-release

  12. Amnesty International has documented, reported on, and continues to call for action with regards to the ongoing atrocities in North Kivu. See AI's report "No End to War on Women and Children" Index: AFR 62/005/2008 (http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR62/005/2008/en/f23caedf-8e4a-11dd-8e5e-43ea85d15a69/afr620052008en.html). In it you will notice that AI calls on MONUC to "ensure that civilians in the area of operations are at all times protected, and that effective humanitarian plans accompany military plans to cater for fleeing or trapped civilians."

    I am including these additional references, to clear up misinformed comments by Judo Nimh on this blog:

    1. An AI research team was present recording the stories of Congolese fleeing DRC (see 22 December 2008 http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/huma

    2. Amnesty International published an "Open Letter to the United Nations Security Council on strengthening the arms embargo on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)" on 15 December 2008. http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGAFR6

    3. Amnesty has also recently (18 February 2009) demanded the United Nations Mission in Sudan assist in providing the whereabouts of Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen so that they can be held accountable for war crimes. See http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-release

  13. Amnesty International has documented, reported on, and continues to call for action with regards to the ongoing atrocities in North Kivu. See AI's report "No End to War on Women and Children" Index: AFR 62/005/2008 (http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR62/005/2008/en/f23caedf-8e4a-11dd-8e5e-43ea85d15a69/afr620052008en.html). In it you will notice that AI calls on MONUC to "ensure that civilians in the area of operations are at all times protected, and that effective humanitarian plans accompany military plans to cater for fleeing or trapped civilians."

    I am including these additional references, to clear up misinformed comments by Judo Nimh on this blog:

    1. An AI research team was present recording the stories of Congolese fleeing DRC (see 22 December 2008 http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/huma

    2. Amnesty International published an "Open Letter to the United Nations Security Council on strengthening the arms embargo on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)" on 15 December 2008. http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGAFR6

    3. Amnesty has also recently (18 February 2009) demanded the United Nations Mission in Sudan assist in providing the whereabouts of Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen so that they can be held accountable for war crimes. See http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-release

  14. Anna – BERG

    Your first reference calls for humanitarian access.
    Your second reference calls for the UN to strengthen the arms embargo.
    Your third reference is something about Sudan, a completly different country.

    So in summary, what Anna Berg is saying is that in responce to the mass murders of 900 villagers a few months ago who were hacked to death with axes, while the at a nearby base sat cowardly hidden inside a heavily armed infantry brigade of United Nations Peacekeepers complete with tanks and helicopter gunships under the direct authority of the Secretary General of the UN, Amnesty International's one and only responce is one single obscure sentence in a single report which does not even explicitly mention what happened.

    But in responce to some western high tek companies that buy a few hundered kilograms of metal, a whole campain has been organized.

  15. Anna -Berg

    The report you posted above http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR62/005

    is totally irrelevant to this issue, because as it states inside the report:
    “This report is based on eyewitness testimony collected in the province of North Kivu during February and March 2008. “

    What the Doctors Without Borders eye witness accounts documented occurred since the END of 2008, AFTER the period this Amnesty Report you mention covers.

    So in fact, there has been exactly ZERO response by amnesty International, not a single document, report, investigation, news release, NOTHING, in response to this documented case .

    This occurred in just the last few months, (not last year when the report you mention above was written). Just a few months ago 900 civilians, women, children old people, were hacked to death a few months ago, while an infantry base with 250 heavily armed United Nations Peacekeeping Troops under direct command of the Special Representatives of the Secretary General of the UN refused to even use their helicopters to evacuate dying babies, let alone agree to leave their barracks and defend the villagers from attack as they are directly required to do under United Nations Security Council resolution.

    And what did you, Amnesty do about this? I will say it again, and Anna- Berg, just be honest and admit it unless you can prove otherwise, which none of your links you have provided yet do, you did NOTHING.

  16. Anna -Berg

    The report you posted above http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR62/005

    is totally irrelevant to this issue, because as it states inside the report:
    “This report is based on eyewitness testimony collected in the province of North Kivu during February and March 2008. “

    What the Doctors Without Borders eye witness accounts documented occurred since the END of 2008, AFTER the period this Amnesty Report you mention covers.

    So in fact, there has been exactly ZERO response by amnesty International, not a single document, report, investigation, news release, NOTHING, in response to this documented case .

    This occurred in just the last few months, (not last year when the report you mention above was written). Just a few months ago 900 civilians, women, children old people, were hacked to death a few months ago, while an infantry base with 250 heavily armed United Nations Peacekeeping Troops under direct command of the Special Representatives of the Secretary General of the UN refused to even use their helicopters to evacuate dying babies, let alone agree to leave their barracks and defend the villagers from attack as they are directly required to do under United Nations Security Council resolution.

    And what did you, Amnesty do about this? I will say it again, and Anna- Berg, just be honest and admit it unless you can prove otherwise, which none of your links you have provided yet do, you did NOTHING.

  17. Anna -Berg

    The report you posted above http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR62/005

    is totally irrelevant to this issue, because as it states inside the report:
    “This report is based on eyewitness testimony collected in the province of North Kivu during February and March 2008. “

    What the Doctors Without Borders eye witness accounts documented occurred since the END of 2008, AFTER the period this Amnesty Report you mention covers.

    So in fact, there has been exactly ZERO response by amnesty International, not a single document, report, investigation, news release, NOTHING, in response to this documented case .

    This occurred in just the last few months, (not last year when the report you mention above was written). Just a few months ago 900 civilians, women, children old people, were hacked to death a few months ago, while an infantry base with 250 heavily armed United Nations Peacekeeping Troops under direct command of the Special Representatives of the Secretary General of the UN refused to even use their helicopters to evacuate dying babies, let alone agree to leave their barracks and defend the villagers from attack as they are directly required to do under United Nations Security Council resolution.

    And what did you, Amnesty do about this? I will say it again, and Anna- Berg, just be honest and admit it unless you can prove otherwise, which none of your links you have provided yet do, you did NOTHING.

  18. Amnesty International has documented, reported on, and continues to call for action with regards to the ongoing atrocities in North Kivu. See AI’s report “No End to War on Women and Children” Index: AFR 62/005/2008 (http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR62/005/2008/en/f23caedf-8e4a-11dd-8e5e-43ea85d15a69/afr620052008en.html). In it you will notice that AI calls on MONUC to “ensure that civilians in the area of operations are at all times protected, and that effective humanitarian plans accompany military plans to cater for fleeing or trapped civilians.”

    I am including these additional references, to clear up misinformed comments by Judo Nimh on this blog:

    1. An AI research team was present recording the stories of Congolese fleeing DRC (see 22 December 2008 http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/humanitarian-access-drc-displaced-hindered-attacks)

    2. Amnesty International published an “Open Letter to the United Nations Security Council on strengthening the arms embargo on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)” on 15 December 2008. http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGAFR620162008&lang=e

    3. Amnesty has also recently (18 February 2009) demanded the United Nations Mission in Sudan assist in providing the whereabouts of Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen so that they can be held accountable for war crimes. See http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/united-nations-should-not-aid-fugitives-international-justice-20090218

  19. Judo Nimh:

    Obviously, Amnesty has repeatedly condemned actions by the Lords Resistance Army of the sort you reference. I’m not aware of whether Amnesty is currently investigating or planning further actions regarding MONUC’s complex and problematic role in these latest incidents. Although the UN dismissed the reports as unfounded (since the peacekeepers had moved to focus on another part of the country), you’re right that the reports themselves are disturbingly reminiscent of other historical episodes of protectors failing to protect civilians when atrocities happen. MONUC’s role is vital, but it must avoid complicity in civilian deaths.

    But although it cannot comment on every incident, Amnesty has of course previously criticized similar episodes and also directed specific criticisms at peacekeepers in the DRC. As you must know, Amnesty has repeatedly urged strengthening MONUC mandate and making it more effective, perhaps most importantly by increasing the number of UN peacekeepers and providing them with enough resources to do their job despite the enormous constraints and challenges. As the MSF report you cited quoted MONUC:

    "MONUC responded by saying that it needed reinforcements from peacekeeping troop-contributing countries because its resources were stretched thin in DRC’s North Kivu province and unable to protect the population in Haut Uélé, an area roughly the size of California. The majority of its troops are based in Ituri and Orientale provinces. Some 250 troops are in Dungu, Haut Uélé."

    Although more MONUC peacekeepers have now been arriving, the delay has had tremendous human costs. Surely if you care about preventing further civilian casualties you shouldn’t condemn so vociferously the organizations like Amnesty that are working to address root causes (such as the trade in conflict minerals) as you should condemn the perpetuators such as the Lords Resistance Army. As serious as the actions (or omissions) of the peacekeepers might be – and you’re right that they are serious — it is these other actors (including the Congolese army as well as rebel factions) that are responsible for the patterns of systematic and gross violations that have been occurring there – regarding which the corporate-fed battle over resources is a hugely significant foundational factor.

  20. Anna – BERG

    Your first reference calls for humanitarian access.
    Your second reference calls for the UN to strengthen the arms embargo.
    Your third reference is something about Sudan, a completly different country.

    So in summary, what Anna Berg is saying is that in responce to the mass murders of 900 villagers a few months ago who were hacked to death with axes, while the at a nearby base sat cowardly hidden inside a heavily armed infantry brigade of United Nations Peacekeepers complete with tanks and helicopter gunships under the direct authority of the Secretary General of the UN, Amnesty International’s one and only responce is one single obscure sentence in a single report which does not even explicitly mention what happened.

    But in responce to some western high tek companies that buy a few hundered kilograms of metal, a whole campain has been organized.

  21. These UN troop strengths you claim were not enough for them to have intevened as per the UNSC mandate to prevent the mass murders a few months ago?

    The UN admits they were fully informed about the killings by Doctors Without Borders and did not find this claim unfounded.

    http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/monuc/facts

    Approved budget :
    1 July 2008 – 30 June 2009: $1,242.73 million

    Current strength (31 May 2009)
    18,381 total uniformed personnel, including 16,626 troops, 681 military observers, 1,074 police; 969 international civilian personnel, 2,154 local civilian staff and 606 United Nations Volunteers

  22. Anna -Berg

    The report you posted above
    http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR62/005/2008/en/f23caedf-8e4a-11dd-8e5e-43ea85d15a69/afr620052008en.html

    is totally irrelevant to this issue, because as it states inside the report:
    “This report is based on eyewitness testimony collected in the province of North Kivu during February and March 2008. “

    What the Doctors Without Borders eye witness accounts documented occurred since the END of 2008, AFTER the period this Amnesty Report you mention covers.

    So in fact, there has been exactly ZERO response by amnesty International, not a single document, report, investigation, news release, NOTHING, in response to this documented case .

    This occurred in just the last few months, (not last year when the report you mention above was written). Just a few months ago 900 civilians, women, children old people, were hacked to death a few months ago, while an infantry base with 250 heavily armed United Nations Peacekeeping Troops under direct command of the Special Representatives of the Secretary General of the UN refused to even use their helicopters to evacuate dying babies, let alone agree to leave their barracks and defend the villagers from attack as they are directly required to do under United Nations Security Council resolution.

    And what did you, Amnesty do about this? I will say it again, and Anna- Berg, just be honest and admit it unless you can prove otherwise, which none of your links you have provided yet do, you did NOTHING.

  23. These UN troop strengths you claim were not enough for them to have intevened as per the UNSC mandate to prevent the mass murders a few months ago?

    The UN admits they were fully informed about the killings by Doctors Without Borders and did not find this claim unfounded.

    http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/monuc/facts

    Approved budget :
    1 July 2008 – 30 June 2009: $1,242.73 million

    Current strength (31 May 2009)
    18,381 total uniformed personnel, including 16,626 troops, 681 military observers, 1,074 police; 969 international civilian personnel, 2,154 local civilian staff and 606 United Nations Volunteers

  24. These UN troop strengths you claim were not enough for them to have intevened as per the UNSC mandate to prevent the mass murders a few months ago?

    The UN admits they were fully informed about the killings by Doctors Without Borders and did not find this claim unfounded.

    http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/monuc/facts

    Approved budget :
    1 July 2008 – 30 June 2009: $1,242.73 million

    Current strength (31 May 2009)
    18,381 total uniformed personnel, including 16,626 troops, 681 military observers, 1,074 police; 969 international civilian personnel, 2,154 local civilian staff and 606 United Nations Volunteers

  25. Judo Nimh:

    Obviously, Amnesty has repeatedly condemned actions by the Lords Resistance Army of the sort you reference. I’m not aware of whether Amnesty is currently investigating or planning further actions regarding MONUC’s complex and problematic role in these latest incidents. Although the UN dismissed the reports as unfounded (since the peacekeepers had moved to focus on another part of the country), you’re right that the reports themselves are disturbingly reminiscent of other historical episodes of protectors failing to protect civilians when atrocities happen. MONUC’s role is vital, but it must avoid complicity in civilian deaths.

    But although it cannot comment on every incident, Amnesty has of course previously criticized similar episodes and also directed specific criticisms at peacekeepers in the DRC. As you must know, Amnesty has repeatedly urged strengthening MONUC mandate and making it more effective, perhaps most importantly by increasing the number of UN peacekeepers and providing them with enough resources to do their job despite the enormous constraints and challenges. As the MSF report you cited quoted MONUC:

    “MONUC responded by saying that it needed reinforcements from peacekeeping troop-contributing countries because its resources were stretched thin in DRC’s North Kivu province and unable to protect the population in Haut Uélé, an area roughly the size of California. The majority of its troops are based in Ituri and Orientale provinces. Some 250 troops are in Dungu, Haut Uélé.”

    Although more MONUC peacekeepers have now been arriving, the delay has had tremendous human costs. Surely if you care about preventing further civilian casualties you shouldn’t condemn so vociferously the organizations like Amnesty that are working to address root causes (such as the trade in conflict minerals) as you should condemn the perpetuators such as the Lords Resistance Army. As serious as the actions (or omissions) of the peacekeepers might be – and you’re right that they are serious — it is these other actors (including the Congolese army as well as rebel factions) that are responsible for the patterns of systematic and gross violations that have been occurring there – regarding which the corporate-fed battle over resources is a hugely significant foundational factor.

  26. These UN troop strengths you claim were not enough for them to have intevened as per the UNSC mandate to prevent the mass murders a few months ago?

    The UN admits they were fully informed about the killings by Doctors Without Borders and did not find this claim unfounded.

    http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/monuc/facts.html

    Approved budget :
    1 July 2008 – 30 June 2009: $1,242.73 million

    Current strength (31 May 2009)
    18,381 total uniformed personnel, including 16,626 troops, 681 military observers, 1,074 police; 969 international civilian personnel, 2,154 local civilian staff and 606 United Nations Volunteers

  27. The Lords Resitance Army is estimated to be a ragtag force with no more than 500 to 1000 fighters armed with primitve wepons, against the UN force of 18,000 armed soldiers, helicopter gunships, tanks, and an annual budget of $1.2 billion , so UN claims that they are just too understaffed and too under budgeted to take on this tiny rebel group so they had no choice but to stand by helplessly as watch from inside thier luxurious bases while in just the last few months alone at least 900 civilians were murdered and uncountable numbers of women raped are just not credible.
    http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2009-02/20

    "According to MSF, the 250 peacekeepers in the area from the U.N. mission, known as MONUC, have done little to protect civilians, focusing instead on providing logistical support to the FARDC, Congo's army. MSF's field coordinator for the Haut-Uelé region, Hakim Chikam, says the peacekeepers have not intervened in any LRA attacks and have declined on multiple occasions to transport wounded civilians for medical treatment.

    "In Nagero, a woman had her throat slit. Miraculously, she survived. And, again, while MONUC went to Nagero, they did not take her on board the helicopter, while they were transporting FARDC troops. What they say is that there are liability issues to the transport of injured civilians."
    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opini

    "There are also many bases for the MONUC, the UN's peacekeeping force of 17,000 soldiers. These bases are enclosed, well-protected, and set away from the villages. I saw UN patrols but I never saw a soldier outside his vehicle or mingling with civilians. Few soldiers speak the local language, and many do not know the local communities, and have rarely used force to protect civilian communities, the key element of their mandate."
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7869832.stm

    MSF's Marc Poncin predicted more massacres.

    "Monuc must take up its responsibilities and can no longer continue to be so absent for inhabitants when they are being systematically attacked," he said.

    MSF said its teams had been shocked by the extreme violence of the LRA in north-eastern DR Congo.

    More than 50 villages and towns across Haut-Uele province have been attacked since Christmas Day, according to MSF.

    One survivor of an attack near Doruma on Christmas Day told MSF: "No one was spared: Children, infants, pregnant women, the elderly, all killed. More than 60 people."

    Attacks on villages in the far north of the DR Congo by the LRA over the last six weeks have driven 130,000 people from their homes.

    BBC Africa editor Martin Plaut, in the remote southern Sudanese town of Ezo on the border with DR Congo and the Central African Republic, has seen hundreds of refugees fleeing.

    Some walked for up to three days, he says, enduring terrible conditions."

  28. The Lords Resitance Army is estimated to be a ragtag force with no more than 500 to 1000 fighters armed with primitve wepons, against the UN force of 18,000 armed soldiers, helicopter gunships, tanks, and an annual budget of $1.2 billion , so UN claims that they are just too understaffed and too under budgeted to take on this tiny rebel group so they had no choice but to stand by helplessly as watch from inside thier luxurious bases while in just the last few months alone at least 900 civilians were murdered and uncountable numbers of women raped are just not credible.
    http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2009-02/20

    "According to MSF, the 250 peacekeepers in the area from the U.N. mission, known as MONUC, have done little to protect civilians, focusing instead on providing logistical support to the FARDC, Congo's army. MSF's field coordinator for the Haut-Uelé region, Hakim Chikam, says the peacekeepers have not intervened in any LRA attacks and have declined on multiple occasions to transport wounded civilians for medical treatment.

    "In Nagero, a woman had her throat slit. Miraculously, she survived. And, again, while MONUC went to Nagero, they did not take her on board the helicopter, while they were transporting FARDC troops. What they say is that there are liability issues to the transport of injured civilians."
    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opini

    "There are also many bases for the MONUC, the UN's peacekeeping force of 17,000 soldiers. These bases are enclosed, well-protected, and set away from the villages. I saw UN patrols but I never saw a soldier outside his vehicle or mingling with civilians. Few soldiers speak the local language, and many do not know the local communities, and have rarely used force to protect civilian communities, the key element of their mandate."
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7869832.stm

    MSF's Marc Poncin predicted more massacres.

    "Monuc must take up its responsibilities and can no longer continue to be so absent for inhabitants when they are being systematically attacked," he said.

    MSF said its teams had been shocked by the extreme violence of the LRA in north-eastern DR Congo.

    More than 50 villages and towns across Haut-Uele province have been attacked since Christmas Day, according to MSF.

    One survivor of an attack near Doruma on Christmas Day told MSF: "No one was spared: Children, infants, pregnant women, the elderly, all killed. More than 60 people."

    Attacks on villages in the far north of the DR Congo by the LRA over the last six weeks have driven 130,000 people from their homes.

    BBC Africa editor Martin Plaut, in the remote southern Sudanese town of Ezo on the border with DR Congo and the Central African Republic, has seen hundreds of refugees fleeing.

    Some walked for up to three days, he says, enduring terrible conditions."

  29. The Lords Resitance Army is estimated to be a ragtag force with no more than 500 to 1000 fighters armed with primitve wepons, against the UN force of 18,000 armed soldiers, helicopter gunships, tanks, and an annual budget of $1.2 billion , so UN claims that they are just too understaffed and too under budgeted to take on this tiny rebel group so they had no choice but to stand by helplessly as watch from inside thier luxurious bases while in just the last few months alone at least 900 civilians were murdered and uncountable numbers of women raped are just not credible.
    http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2009-02/20

    "According to MSF, the 250 peacekeepers in the area from the U.N. mission, known as MONUC, have done little to protect civilians, focusing instead on providing logistical support to the FARDC, Congo's army. MSF's field coordinator for the Haut-Uelé region, Hakim Chikam, says the peacekeepers have not intervened in any LRA attacks and have declined on multiple occasions to transport wounded civilians for medical treatment.

    "In Nagero, a woman had her throat slit. Miraculously, she survived. And, again, while MONUC went to Nagero, they did not take her on board the helicopter, while they were transporting FARDC troops. What they say is that there are liability issues to the transport of injured civilians."
    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opini

    "There are also many bases for the MONUC, the UN's peacekeeping force of 17,000 soldiers. These bases are enclosed, well-protected, and set away from the villages. I saw UN patrols but I never saw a soldier outside his vehicle or mingling with civilians. Few soldiers speak the local language, and many do not know the local communities, and have rarely used force to protect civilian communities, the key element of their mandate."
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7869832.stm

    MSF's Marc Poncin predicted more massacres.

    "Monuc must take up its responsibilities and can no longer continue to be so absent for inhabitants when they are being systematically attacked," he said.

    MSF said its teams had been shocked by the extreme violence of the LRA in north-eastern DR Congo.

    More than 50 villages and towns across Haut-Uele province have been attacked since Christmas Day, according to MSF.

    One survivor of an attack near Doruma on Christmas Day told MSF: "No one was spared: Children, infants, pregnant women, the elderly, all killed. More than 60 people."

    Attacks on villages in the far north of the DR Congo by the LRA over the last six weeks have driven 130,000 people from their homes.

    BBC Africa editor Martin Plaut, in the remote southern Sudanese town of Ezo on the border with DR Congo and the Central African Republic, has seen hundreds of refugees fleeing.

    Some walked for up to three days, he says, enduring terrible conditions."

  30. The Lords Resitance Army is estimated to be a ragtag force with no more than 500 to 1000 fighters armed with primitve wepons, against the UN force of 18,000 armed soldiers, helicopter gunships, tanks, and an annual budget of $1.2 billion , so UN claims that they are just too understaffed and too under budgeted to take on this tiny rebel group so they had no choice but to stand by helplessly as watch from inside thier luxurious bases while in just the last few months alone at least 900 civilians were murdered and uncountable numbers of women raped are just not credible.

    http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2009-02/2009-02-04-voa26.cfm

    “According to MSF, the 250 peacekeepers in the area from the U.N. mission, known as MONUC, have done little to protect civilians, focusing instead on providing logistical support to the FARDC, Congo’s army. MSF’s field coordinator for the Haut-Uelé region, Hakim Chikam, says the peacekeepers have not intervened in any LRA attacks and have declined on multiple occasions to transport wounded civilians for medical treatment.

    “In Nagero, a woman had her throat slit. Miraculously, she survived. And, again, while MONUC went to Nagero, they did not take her on board the helicopter, while they were transporting FARDC troops. What they say is that there are liability issues to the transport of injured civilians.”

    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2009/01/28/a_stronger_un_role_is_needed_in_the_congo/

    “There are also many bases for the MONUC, the UN’s peacekeeping force of 17,000 soldiers. These bases are enclosed, well-protected, and set away from the villages. I saw UN patrols but I never saw a soldier outside his vehicle or mingling with civilians. Few soldiers speak the local language, and many do not know the local communities, and have rarely used force to protect civilian communities, the key element of their mandate.”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7869832.stm

    MSF’s Marc Poncin predicted more massacres.

    “Monuc must take up its responsibilities and can no longer continue to be so absent for inhabitants when they are being systematically attacked,” he said.

    MSF said its teams had been shocked by the extreme violence of the LRA in north-eastern DR Congo.

    More than 50 villages and towns across Haut-Uele province have been attacked since Christmas Day, according to MSF.

    One survivor of an attack near Doruma on Christmas Day told MSF: “No one was spared: Children, infants, pregnant women, the elderly, all killed. More than 60 people.”

    Attacks on villages in the far north of the DR Congo by the LRA over the last six weeks have driven 130,000 people from their homes.

    BBC Africa editor Martin Plaut, in the remote southern Sudanese town of Ezo on the border with DR Congo and the Central African Republic, has seen hundreds of refugees fleeing.

    Some walked for up to three days, he says, enduring terrible conditions.”

  31. I came here expecting to become informed concerning Dell and Apple'e complicity in ignoring their part in a global problem and how we could help them to take responsibility for their part. While every organization, no matter how good and just, still needs a watchdog, Judo Nimh seems intent on blaming all of these ills on Amnesty International. I would like some positive ideas on how to help from this person who obviously does care about this issue instead of negative blaming. You seem to have the knowledge and information. Could we please put it to good and active use. People become angry over what they believe to be acts of neglect concerning things they care about. Right or wrong opinions don't matter. Helping to solve the problem does.

  32. I came here expecting to become informed concerning Dell and Apple’e complicity in ignoring their part in a global problem and how we could help them to take responsibility for their part. While every organization, no matter how good and just, still needs a watchdog, Judo Nimh seems intent on blaming all of these ills on Amnesty International. I would like some positive ideas on how to help from this person who obviously does care about this issue instead of negative blaming. You seem to have the knowledge and information. Could we please put it to good and active use. People become angry over what they believe to be acts of neglect concerning things they care about. Right or wrong opinions don’t matter. Helping to solve the problem does.