A new report by a Washington-based advocacy group links sexual violence in Africa and electronics manufacturing.
Tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold are mined in illegal operations, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, then sent abroad to be used in electronic gadgets such as iPods, cell phones and laptops.
Local rebel factions in the DRC trade these “conflict minerals” for weapons, and routinely terrorize residents in contested regions, according to the Enough Project’s findings.
This includes looting, burning of property and ever-increasing sexual violence against women and girls.
According to the study, more than 1,000 rapes are reported in the DRC monthly — the highest rate in the world.
Human-rights advocates are asking electronics companies like Apple, Nintendo, Nokia and Hewlett Packard to make products without using the tainted minerals, and want consumers to support companies that pledge to do so.
“Congo-Kinshasa: Electronics Firms Urged to Boycott ‘Blood Minerals'”
Inter Press Service, April 1, 2009