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Article published the Monday 26 July 2010 - Latest update : Monday 26 July 2010

Campaign group sues UK government for enabling DRC violence

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Campaign group Global Witness is taking the British government to court for allegedly failing to report companies trading Congolese "conflict minerals". The organisation said on Monday that British companies have been trading in minerals controlled by armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This is in defiance of United Nations sanctions introduced in 2008 and 2009, it said, accusing Britain of sitting by and letting it happen.

Seema Joshi, Global Witness
by Helena Humphrey

Global Witness says groups controlling the trade in minerals such as tin and tungsten use the money to buy arms to fund campaigns against civilians. It says it is applying to the High Court in London for an order requiring the government to put forward for sanctions British firms violating the UN resolutions.

“We approached the UK government in early 2009 once sanctions were passed where you could list entities supporting armed groups for sanctions,” says Seema Joshi legal adviser at Global Witness. “We decided to take advantage of that. We requested they put forward certain names.”

She says Global Witness and UK government representatives met several times last year. By November, no action had been taken and the same companies were mentioned again by a group of UN experts.

“Further evidence again came up during that period, which showed that these companies were breaking sanctions,” says Joshi. “In eastern Congo there are still high levels of violence. By the UK government not taking action it’s allowing the funding of armed groups in these areas and allowing the conflict to perpetuate.”

Britain's Foreign Office released a statement saying it expects all British companies operating in the minerals sector in the DRC to follow high standards of due diligence.

"We will continue to take reports that they are not doing so seriously, and will assess in each case whether there are grounds to consider recommending to UN partners that sanctions measures be imposed or supporting proposals for listings made by other states," it said.

tags: Democratic Republic of Congo - Minerals - United Kingdom
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Comments (1)

Campaign group sues UK government to enabling violence in DRC

It is well known that these violence at the east of DRC is to the benefit of Foreignners government and especially Rwanda and Uganda as well as the western countries such as the United Kingdom. That is why congolese are fighting for human rights to be respected in their country. In that way if campaign is necessary to my point of view this should start against the dictatshipp power incarned by Joseph Kabila who is working for foreigner who are supporting the violence instead of working for congolese who wonder peace in their country.

By Abraham Ngongo Buana
Human rights activist and member of Apareco UK

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