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Congo warns Apple on its role in fueling conflict by patronizing illegal minerals trade 

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has protested the role of multinationals like Apple in fueling conflict in the country by patronizing Illegally gotten Minerals which it uses to fuel energy and digital transformations.

According to the East African, authorities in Congo has accused Global smart phone Giants, Apple for paying for minerals without considering how they were gotten or looking at the suppliers.

The accusation is not the first time Congo is blaming outside forces for fueling conflict in its region but this time the Central African nation has issued an formal warning to Apple for using minerals from national mines that were illegally exploited.

The Congolese government based their warning to Apple from details of a new report by members of the strategic coordination of the International Justice Taskforce highlighting the sufferings and human rights abused faced by Congolese nationals in mining regions of the country.

Formal notice issued to Apple

On the basis of the report, DRC’s lawyers, Amsterdam & Partners, issued a formal notice to Apple and, at the same time, addressed a series of questions to its Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook.

The lawyers in their charge accused Apple of selling technology made with minerals sourced from conflict zones and tainted by the blood of Congolese people.

“it has become clear to us that, year after year, Apple has sold technology made with minerals sourced from a region whose population is being devastated by grave violations of human rights.” They said 

Apple alongside numerous companies have been accused of buying minerals from tainted suppliers with direct ties to rebel groups.

This makes the trade very lucrative and leads to consistent fighting among rebel groups for control of these mines.

Congolese Government Spokesman Patrick Muyaya shed more light on the situation saying the illicit mineral trade also doubles as a very extensive money laundering enterprise.

“Numerous international observers and Non-Governmental Organizations have demonstrated that the illicit trade in these blood minerals substantially sustains a widespread money laundering enterprise,” Muyaya said 

Apple in response rejected the accusations saying it routinely conducts independent audit of its suppliers. Apple in an annual report earlier indicated that all its suppliers from the region had no direct benefit from the conflict.

“Although Apple does not directly purchase, procure or source primary minerals, we are committed to meeting and exceeding internationally accepted due diligence standards for primary minerals and recycled materials in our supply chain,” it said

Apple added that it has a code while sourcing suppliers which requires them to identify and assess a broad range of risks beyond conflict, including social, environmental and human rights risks.”

The Congolese government demanded “clear answers from Apple and its subsidiaries in France” within the next three weeks.

It further added that if answers provided by Apple are not satisfactory, the lawyers appointed by the Government of the DRC would be ordered to take further action.

What To Know 

  • For nearly 30 years, eastern DRC has been undermined by local and foreign-armed groups fighting the DRC army and weakening the capacity of the Congolese state.
  • According to the DRC government, Apple uses the 3T minerals, “mainly purchased in Rwanda, in its products, even though Kigali has almost zero production of these minerals and much of the minerals can be traced back to DRC.
  • The Global witness an international watchdog group that often focus on corruption in supply chains said natural resources of the DRC’s provinces attract all sorts of predators, from armed groups to cowboy companies.

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