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Abstract: For decades, the trade in conflict minerals has fueled human rights abuses and promoted insecurity in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed in July 2010, includes a provision that addresses the need for action to be taken to stop the national army and rebel groups in the DRC from profiting from the minerals trade. Section 1502, the Conflict Minerals provision, is a disclosure requirement that calls on companies to determine if their products contain conflict minerals and to report this to the SEC.
This legislation has the potential to make a significant impact on the ground in the DRC; however, there has been considerable misinformation and fear-mongering spread about its requirements and likely impact. This document seeks to clarify some of the most common misconceptions.
Abstract: Whereas artisanal mining has always been a key economic activity in the region, the Nia-Nia area in the Ituri territory
of the oriental province of the DRC has only recently become a site of importance to the international gold mining
community. As industrial mining in the DRC is often accompanied by socio-economic and political friction,
this report, which is based on in-depth on-site fieldwork, explores the mining activities carried out by international
mining companies and situates them in the socio-political context of the region to assess conflict potentiality and
key markers for development.
In a first section, it situates the Nia-Nia area within the broader political, socio-economic and ethnic context of Ituri,
to indicate that coming to grips with dynamics in Nia-Nia largely requires a unique approach as they are characterized
by tendencies that differ from other places in Ituri.
In a second section, it lays out ongoing mining activities. This report sums up the principal ways in which each international mining company
interacts with the surrounding community, in each case paying specific attention to security dynamics related to its
In a third section, it relates the mining companies’ community engagements and security dynamics to broader political,
socio-economic, and especially ethnic dynamics, to assess the conflict potentiality of the presence of each of
the international mining operations.
In the concluding section, the report explores some possible policy implications. First and foremost, it argues that
the absence of mobile phone communication infrastructure allows for the current situation in which tribal actors
politicize and instrumentalize international mining corporations for their own political, economic, and social interests,
leading to amplified tensions and increased conflict potentiality. By extension, mining corporations and civil
society actors should push for Congolese mobile phone networks to expand their market into the Nia-Nia area. Secondly,
the report argues that information is dually important: one the one hand, mining corporations should inform
themselves about the socio-political and ethnic dynamics of the area when formulating their community
engagement policy, and on the other hand, they should invest more in informing different civil society stakeholders.
Abstract: For more than a decade, research has stressed the importance of the economic dimension of conflict, and of the economic interests of belligerents. Competition among political, military and business actors for the control of mineral resources in the east of the country is being increasingly recognised as a pivotal factor in assessing the causes of instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This report is based on a thorough review of all the main literature on the subject since the year 2000. It describes and assesses the different categories of actors and the processes, chains and linkages that are involved in mining and trading of minerals in the Kivu provinces and in the territory of Ituri. It also reveals some of the main gaps in the information on the issue that is needed to develop and refine more effective peace-building strategies by national and international interveners.
Abstract: A host of publications over the last decade have highlighted the important role played by artisanal and small scale mining of coltan, gold and cassiterite in the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, yet there is still little awareness of the modus operandi of the various actors involved in the exploitation and trade of these minerals. It is vitally important that initiatives aimed at reforming the artisanal mining industry are based on a thorough knowledge of the political, economic and social dynamics at the grassroots level. This research report analyzes the trading networks within the mining sector and their links to military, economic and political actors in eastern DRC, focusing on the provinces of North and South Kivu, and Ituri District in Orientale Province.
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the historical relation between conflict and land tenure in Rwanda, a country that experienced a harsh civil war and genocide in the mid-1990s. The victory of the Tutsi-led rebel, Rwandan Patriotic Front - RPF - at that time triggered a massive return of refugees and a drastic change in land tenure policy. These were refugees who had fled the country at around the time of independence, in 1962, due to the political turmoil and persecution (the "social revolution") and who shared the background of the core RPF members. The social revolution had dismantled the existent Tutsi-led political order, compelling many Tutsi families to seek refuge outside their homeland. Under the post-independence rule of a Hutu-led government, the Tutsi refugees were not allowed to return and the lands they left behind were often arbitrarily distributed by local authorities among Hutu peasants. After victory in the mid-1990s civil war, the newly established RPF-led government ordered the current inhabitants of the lands to divide the properties in order to allocate portions to the Tutsi returnees. Different patterns of land holding and land division will be explained in the paper from data gathered through the authors' fieldworks in the southern and eastern parts of Rwanda. Although overt resistance to land division has not been observed to date, the land rights of the Tutsi returnees must be considered unstable because their legitimacy depends primarily on the strength and political stability of the RPF-led government. If the authority of RPF were to weaken, the land rights will be jeopardized. Throughout Rwandan history, in which political exclusion has often led to serious conflict, macro-level politics have repeatedly influenced land holding. Promotion of an inclusive democracy, therefore, is indispensable to escape the vicious circle between political instability and land rights.
Abstract: Zimbabwe presents a set of critical, immediate challenges for U.S. policy. Different scenarios, including an unsanctioned snap election, a military coup, and President Robert Mugabe’s early death, could precipitate a sharp, even violent, crisis later this year. The United States can best respond by reinvigorating its active engagement with southern Africa and with the volatile and rapidly changing situation in Zimbabwe. This report details possible scenarios and offers options for strengthening Washington’s immediate and medium-term leverage in partnership with South Africa and the Southern African Development Community. Beyond Mugabe: Preparing for Zimbabwe’s Transition draws on a series of discussions by a CSIS Working Group on Zimbabwe as well as the author’s travel to Zimbabwe and intensive additional consultation with civil and political society within Zimbabwe.
Abstract: Politics, Religion and Power in the Great Lakes Region covers the political, religious and power relations in the contemporary Great Lakes States : Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Kenya and the Sudan. The work is important because of the nexus between these countries’ shared present and past - their political, socio-economic, cultural and historical aspirations. In terms of regional cooperation, they are the countries, save for the DRC and the Sudan, which form the current East African Community.
The book reflects on the complex dynamics and strategies of the ensuing power struggle, bringing forth a unique set of fascinating revelations of patterns of primitive capital accumulation, resistance, human rights violations and the political compromises between traditional enemies when confronted by a common (foreign) enemy. A critical analysis of the political distortion the region suffered brings to light the relevance of these divisive tools on the current trends in the African countries, drawing inferences from the African Great Lakes Region (GLR).
The study highlights how the conflicts were finally resolved to avert a serious war, thus bringing about new reforms. This history is instructive to the contemporary reader because of the frequent skirmishes caused by ethnic and religious differences, political and territorial conflicts as well as resource and leadership disputes in the GLR.
Abstract: The war in Iraq remains a critical aspect of US national security, and involves more vital US strategic interests than the conflict in Afghanistan. Estimates by the Energy Information Agency of the Department of Energy indicate that the US and global economy will not reduces their strategic dependence on the Gulf petroleum exports through 2035, and Iraq’s future alignments with the US will be critical to determining our ability to contain Iran and ensure the security of our Arab allies and Israel.
It is also clear that Iraq still has an uncertain capability to deal with its extremist and terrorist threats, deter any foreign threats and pressure, and limit the risk of new outbreaks of ethnic and sectarian violence without US aid. The fact that Iraq’s leadership has agreed to ask some US forces to stay is only one indication of the issues involved, and the problems that have been highlighted by other research centers like RAND and the ICG. Iraq still has broad needs for US aid and assistance, and it will be years before rises in its petroleum revenues will allow it to fully fund its internal security and development, and create military forces strong enough to ensure its security against neighbors like Iran. The Burke Chair has developed a new series of summary briefings on on Iraq that highlight recent developments in the war, as well as trends in Iraq’s security, its politics and governance, its economy, and its security forces.
The three briefings in this series also provide an overview of developments in the Iraqi energy sector and the current capabilities and size of Iraqi security forces (ISF), and their dependence on aid. They summarize the cost of the war to date to the US, the patterns in the withdrawal of US forces, and current plans for the US military withdrawal from Iraq. They also provide a summary of plans for a US State Department-led effort to create a strategic partnership with Iraq under the Strategic Framework Agreement.
The briefs include the following documents:
Iraq in Transition: Security, Iraqi Forces, and US Security Aid Plans . This brief highlights the timelines and history that have shaped Iraq since the US invasion in 2003. It also highlights the fact that violence in Iraq remains a major problem, and that there are still serious limits to the capabilities of Iraq’s security forces and there is a need for continued US security assistance.
Iraq in Transition: Governance, Politics, Economics, and Petroleum. This brief warns that Iraq still lacks effective governance, its politics remain highly unstable and threaten the success of a truly democratic government, and that its economy will need years of development to rescue the bulk of its people from poverty and fund a stable path towards development.
Iraq in Transition: US Transition Plans and Aid. This brief summarizes current US transition plans, the history of international and US aid flows, and the problems and successes in the US aid effort. It warns of the future difficulties the US will face in making aid effective, particularly as it shifts to a much lower profile of aid in governance and economics with minimal funding.
Abstract: Last February, Reporters Without Borders released its first-ever thematic report on organized crime, the main source of physical danger for journalists since the end of the Cold War. Produced with the help of our correspondents and specialists in several continues, that report underlined how difficult it is for the media to investigate the criminal underworld’s activities, networks and infiltration of society. Aside from covering bloody shootouts between rival cartels, news media of any size usually seem ill-equipped to describe organized crime’s hidden but ubiquitous presence.
Paraguay, which a Reporters Without Borders representative visited from 3 to 10 July, is a good example of these problems. Overshadowed by Brazil and Argentina, its two big neighbours in the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), it has long received one of the world’s worst rankings in Transparency International’s corruption index. It is also a major way station in the trafficking of cocaine from the Bolivian Andes to the Southern Cone.
While the level of violence is not as high as in Mexico, Colombia or some Central American countries, the persistent corruption, judicial impunity and influence of mafia activity on political and business activity prevent the media and civil society from playing a watchdog role. Although elections brought about a real change of government for the first time in 2008, Paraguay is still struggling to free itself from the code of silence and complicity that prevailed during the decades of dictatorship and affects the media as well. This was clear from interviews with journalists, observers and state officials in Asunción and Concepción, in the border cities of Ciudad del Este and Encarnación, and the Argentine border city of Posadas.
Abstract: Informal mining and illicit trading of minerals has long been associated with violent conflicts in the Kivu provinces of eastern Congo. Coltan from the Kivus became particularly well known around the world at the turn of the century because of its use in the manufacture of mobile phones. Gold, which has soared in value as a result of the global financial crisis, also comes in significant quantities from these provinces and the adjacent district of Ituri. The sites in the Kivus and Ituri are now well known and have been mapped. Much less is known about mining sites in the adjacent provinces. This report, based on several months of field research carried out for International Alert by the International Peace Information Service (IPIS) and local partners, identifies mining sites in northern Katanga, in the province of Maniema, and in the district of Bafwasende. The report traces the main means of transport and the export routes that operate mainly though the commercial centres of Bukavu, Goma and Butembo. This information is an important addition to international knowledge about significant quantities of minerals that, although they are traded through known centres actually originate much further afield.
The report is built around three chapters: the first examines mining activity in Northern Katanga;
the second looks at Maniema territory on the east bank of the Congo River; and the third surveys
the mining sector in Bafwasende and Mambasa territories in Orientale Province.
Each chapter follows the same structure. In a first section, the mineral resources of the area in
question are discussed. In a second, the most important mines are presented. The third section
deals with the mining sector: the traders, transport, mining companies, etc. The fourth section
examines human rights violations, and the involvement of armed groups and the Congolese
national army in mining areas.
Abstract: The recent political upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa region have exposed growing concerns about conflict risk, political stability, and reform prospects across its societies. Given the prevalence of oil and gas resource endowments in the region, which a voluminous literature suggests can be associated with adverse development consequences, this paper examines the interplay between their associated rents and political economy trajectories. The contribution of the paper is threefold: first, to examine the quantitative evidence of violent conflict in the region since 1960; second, to provide a nuanced review of the regional case study literature on the relationship between resource endowments, political stability, and conflict risk; and third, to assess how prospective political transitions have implications for the World Bank Group's work in the region on public sector management and private sector development. The authors find that resources and regimes have intersected to provide stability and limited violent conflict in the region, but that these development patterns have yielded a set of policy choices and development patterns that are proving increasingly brittle and unsustainable. A major institutional challenge for reforms will be to consolidate a requisite degree of inter-temporal credibility and stability in these regimes, while expanding inclusiveness in state-society relations.
Abstract: Summary points
- Yemen’s power structures are under great strain as the political elite struggles to adapt to
nationwide grassroots demands for a more legitimate, responsive and inclusive government.
- Dramatic political change in Yemen could lead to violent upheaval and a humanitarian
crisis, against the backdrop of the country’s deteriorating economic and security
conditions. It might also result in a new, more legitimate political configuration.
- In 2010, Western governments initiated a partnership with the Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC) states to address the security risks posed by the situation in Yemen. This was
based on the recognition that these states have significant financial resources, strong
cultural ties to Yemen and important connections within its informal power networks.
- Ambivalence and limited bureaucratic capacity initially constrained the Gulf states’ potential
to respond strategically to instability in Yemen. However, growing domestic opposition to
Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh, coupled with his diminishing international support,
triggered a collective GCC response in 2011 aimed at mediating a political transition.
- Saudi Arabia maintains extensive transnational patronage networks in Yemen. Many Yemenis
believe it is trying to influence the outcome of political change and that succession dynamics
within the Saudi royal family are affecting the calculations of Yemeni political actors.
- The ‘Arab Spring’ has generated reformist pressures and divergent regime responses
within the Gulf monarchies themselves. This increases the complexity of the policy
landscape regarding Yemen.
Abstract: Burma has extensive biodiversity and abundant natural resources, which have in recent
years been threatened by militarization, large-scale resource extraction, and infrastructure
development. Burma has some laws and policies related to protecting people and the
environment, but the country lacks the necessary administrative and legal structures,
standards, safeguards and political will to enforce such provisions. The country is also a
party to several international treaties relating to the environment, including those on
protection of biodiversity and indigenous peoples, wildlife, and countering climate change.
It is unclear, however, how the contents of those treaties that have been ratified have been
incorporated into domestic law.
Control over natural resources is a major cause of conflict in ethnic areas, where the majority
of Burma’s natural resources remain. Foreign direct investment in Burma is concentrated
in energy and extractive sectors and often results in militarization and displacement. Recently there has been heightened interest from countries in the region for more investment
opportunities. Given the lack of sound economic policy and unwillingness of the state to
reconcile with ethnic armed groups, an increase in foreign investment could have a major
impact on the environment and communities living in these areas.
In order to take steps towards ecologically and socially responsible development in Burma,
Burma must have a sound policy framework for environmental protection and sustainable
development that enables citizens to take part in decision making about their own
development, and ensures responsible private sector investment. Until then, new foreign
investors investing in energy, extractive and plantation sectors should refrain from investing.
Existing investors should immediately cease all project-related work - particularly in sensitive
areas throughout Burma - until adequate safeguards are in place to ensure investment does
not lead to unnecessary destruction of the natural environment and local livelihoods. At
the same time, International NGOs and UN agencies should ensure people are recognized
as key actors in their own development, rather than passive recipients of commodities and
services; and civil society organizations should empower communities throughout Burma
to understand their rights.
Abstract: This policy brief focuses on a case study. It is suggested that an environmental disaster during the summer of 2010 in the Black Sea region triggered in winter 2011 a food crisis in the Arab World; in turn, this led to massive riots, revolts, political instability, a NATO operation and, alas, an oil crisis that accentuates an already suffering global economy. Coextensively, it may be suggested that an environmental crisis triggered a political crisis, which escalated in a series of conflicts that are of major concern for traditional security structures in Europe and beyond. In sum, the argument is made that as a result of this experience, the human security agenda must have a direct effect on our traditional security agenda. The question addressed at this point is how these interrelated chains of events affect the security establishment and our notions of a ‘high strategy.’
Abstract: A popular anecdote in the Middle East, coined by former U.S. Secretary of State
Henry Kissinger in the 1970s, is that ‘no war is possible without Egypt, and no
peace possible without Syria’ - Daoudy, 2008:215 -. This paper will focus mainly
on the prospect of peace between Israel and Syria.
Despite some brief interludes of optimism in the early 1990s, the history of
conflict and mistrust between Israel and Syria, the ongoing occupation of the Golan
Heights, and periodic hostilities mean that a durable peace between them remains
a distant prospect. Throughout the last two decades of official and unofficial peace
talks between Israel and Syria, the position and concerns of each party to reach
peace have become evident. The Syrians insist on a full Israeli withdrawal from the
Golan, captured in 1967, down to the 4 June 1967 line, which would allow Syrian
access to the Sea of Galilee/Lake Tiberias. Israeli leaders have stated their demand
of keeping the Syrians off the water of the Lake and their intention to withdraw along
the international border line of 1923, although it seems at least some of them do
realise that the Syrian pre-condition of full withdrawal has to be fulfilled. Indeed,
the stumbling block obstructing the implementation of an Israeli-Syrian peace deal
is the disputed area between the 1923 international borderline and the 1967 pre-war
- 4 June 1967 - line. Although small in size, this area carries a most significant and
strategic position involving water access, sovereignty and control. This has been
regarded as the sticking point through the two-decade period of negotiations
- Muslih, 1993:613; Renger, 1998:49 -
Recently, the American administration had taken up the idea of creating a
peace park in the Golan Heights as a way of resolving the Israeli-Syrian conflict
particularly in the area between the 1923 and 1967 lines in the north-eastern
sector of Lake Tiberias.
This paper will explore this idea, which in the past has been put forward
by government officials and political analysts alike as a possible means to
accommodate Syrian and Israeli concerns. In order to determine the viability of
this project I shall analyse the literature regarding the utilisation of natural resources
both for conflict propagation and as catalysts for lasting cooperation and conflict
resolution. Then I will present a brief history of the Syrian-Israeli peace process and
describe why previous peace talks have failed. Finally, I shall describe the status
quo in the Golan Heights today and the discourse of environmental peace-building
through the suggested proposal of a peace park along the shores of Lake Tiberias.
I will argue that while a peace park is not the panacea to the conflict
existing today between Israel and Syria, within a context of comprehensive peace
agreements such a project can ameliorate the concerns of both parties and provide
a platform for confidence building and a way to overcome the problem of sovereignty
in this particular area.
Abstract: East Africa is facing the worst food crisis of the 21st Century. Across Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya, 12 million people are in dire need of food, clean water, and basic sanitation. Loss of life on a massive scale is a very real risk, and the crisis is set to worsen over the coming months, particularly for pastoralist communities.
The overall international donor response to this humanitarian crisis has been slow and inadequate. According to UN figures, $1bn is required to meet immediate needs. So far donors have committed less than $200m, leaving an $800m black hole.
While severe drought has undoubtedly led to the huge scale of the disaster, this crisis has been caused by people and policies, as much as by weather patterns. If more action had been taken earlier it could have helped mitigate the severity of the current crisis. It is no coincidence that the worst affected areas are those suffering from entrenched poverty due to marginalisation and lack of investment.
A rapid increase in emergency aid is needed right now to save lives and protect livelihoods, so that people can rebuild once the crisis is over. National governments and donors must prioritise addressing the issues that make people vulnerable in the first place.
There’s no time to waste. We must not stand by and watch this tragedy unfold.
Abstract: The Arctic has returned with a vengeance as an area of international contention. Beginning in 2007, Russia has continued to make aggressive moves and claims regarding territory in the Arctic Ocean. These moves undoubtedly have been prompted by global climate change and the importance of energy, with which Russia believes the Arctic is lavishly supplied. These moves apparently were intended to compel other Arctic states, like Norway, to come to terms with Russia. Nonetheless, the tendency to invoke military and security issues and instruments in this region of the world continues apace. These essays, taken from SSI's 2010 conference on Russia, fully explore the Russian and international competition for influence and rights over the exploration and commercial exploitation of the Arctic.
Abstract: Reforming land tenure is an integral part of the process of post-conflict development which is
currently underway in Cambodia. However, the land tenure reforms have remained focused on the
desire to achieve primarily economic gains, seeking improved access for citizens to formal credit,
higher land values, higher rates of investment in land, and increases in income. Though such
outcomes can be attributed to a process of reducing income-based poverty, the social and equity
impacts of tenure reform must be addressed more directly if well-being is to improve and the
potential for future conflict is to be reduced.
This paper examines the interface between land tenure and human security in post-conflict
Cambodia in order to help reveal ways in which tenure reform can make a more coherent
contribution toward broad-based and sustainable development. Efforts to improve human security
are premised on the understanding that, in order for the development process to be effective,
individuals must first be empowered to participate in primarily economic opportunities while at the
same time be protected from threats that may compromise their physical, social, or psychological
well-being. In this context, a functional system of tenure reform must address the underlying
conditions or factors that provide people with constructive coping mechanisms to deal with threats
to their security.
Abstract: This paper explores the security implications of climate change with a special focus
on the Asia-Pacific region. The core message is that climate change’s adverse
impacts could act a “threat multiplier” and exacerbate existing political, economic
and social tensions. In fragile regions, this could result in destabilization and conflict
and pose a threat to national and international security. If countries fail to address
this threat, climate change may trigger conflict within nations and between them.
This conflict could come about as a result of a natural disaster, resource scarcity,
mass migration and others. However, climate change also has the potential to unite
the international community, as long as states recognize climate change as a threat
and cooperate to achieve a policy that is both coordinated and inclusive.
Abstract: China and India remain locked in a stagnant embrace when it comes to the most intractable of security dilemmas: the Sino-Indian border issue. A closer look at Chinese and Indian strategic, scientific and academic experts' security perceptions vis-à-vis one another reveals that there is much more to the Sino-Indian security dynamic than meets the eye. Chinese and Indian strategic analysts hold divergent interests when evaluating each other's military modernization, the former preoccupied with India's naval development and the latter with China's army. Technical analysts in each country share a similar level of interest in the other's aviation and aerospace programs. Scholars exhibit a strong, if not symmetrical, level of focus on the other country's nuclear strategy and status. Using this tripartite discourse as a baseline, this essay provides both a quantitative and qualitative analysis of each group's perceptions to better understand Sino-Indian security relations and to propose measures within each arena to enhance mutual understanding. It shows that the Sino-Indian security dilemma cannot be simply viewed through the prism of the border anymore.
Abstract: How can we make natural resources work for peace? Resources can boost
post-conflict economic recovery by generating much-needed employment,
attracting foreign investment, and developing infrastructure as well as
accruing taxes and export revenues. Well-managed resources also have longterm
positive benefits on health and the environment. Post-conflict
situations, however, provide a challenging context for sound policies and
effective resource management due to weak local management capacity,
prevailing insecurity, degraded infrastructure, uncertainties in the regulatory
environment, ineffective judicial system, fledging and often co-opted civil
society organizations and public media, tensions between large-scale
investments, local entrepreneurs, and community interests, and high
corruption risks. In a global context shaped by climate change and high
primary commodity prices, the stakes of resource management are high, both
domestically and internationally. Despite the often-fraught relationship
between conflict and natural resources, however, natural resource
management can be approached in ways that promote a sustainable peace –
in terms of both fostering the durable cessation of hostilities and cultivating
natural resources’ many potential benefits for ‘post-conflict’ societies.
Abstract: The decades-old conflict in Mindanao, southern Philippines, is often framed as a Muslim–
Christian conflict and reinterpreted as such within the US-led global war on terror, with the
Muslim secessionist movement standing accused of providing a hub for international jihad.
In the meantime, global economic integration has made it easier to ignore the agrarian roots
of violent conflict in Mindanao, enabling national and sub-national actors, including the
international community and the Muslim or Moro separatists, to dismiss the issue of
agrarian justice. We counter these arguments by using an agrarian political economy
framework to uncover the roots of resilient violence in Mindanao, using historical narratives
of the region from the end of the nineteenth century that accentuate the links between
state-making, control of land and labour, and processes of agrarian modernization. We
emphasize the critical role played by the Muslim landed elites who shaped processes of
state-making by brokering the interests of their clans with exogenous actors at the national
and international level.We shed light on emerging state policies and competing interests
among other landed and agribusiness elites that resulted in the spread of a parallel
underground economy, renewing opportunities for violence and crime within semiautonomous
Abstract: Canadian foreign direct investment in Colombia has
grown consistently since the 1990s, particularly in
telecommunications, mining, and fossil fuel extraction.
Canadian mining and oil companies are major players in
Despite a concerted public relations campaign by
the Colombian government, Colombia continues to suffer
widespread human rights abuses, including extrajudicial
executions, disappearances, extortion, and threats.
Control over land, labour, and natural resources are
integral to the war and violence in Colombia, and the
past few decades have seen massive displacement and
murder for political and economic ends. Striking correlations
have been observed between where investment –
both domestic and foreign – takes place and rights abuses,
ranging from murder and massacres and related massive
land and property theft to violations of the rights to
freedom of movement and to a healthy environment.
Human rights violations are linked to efforts by
those behind Colombia’s murderous paramilitaries to
create conditions for investment from which they are
positioned to benefit. There are also ongoing relations
between the paramilitary forces and all levels of government
and the armed forces, up to the highest officials,
and there are clear indications that political cover for
such human rights abuses and crimes will continue.
Abstract: In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC), rebel groups and senior commanders of
the national army are fighting over and illegally
profiting from the country’s minerals sector.
These groups, responsible for mass rape and
murder, enrich themselves through international
trade. This report, based on recent findings of
the UN Group of Experts and Global Witness’s
research over the past year, discusses this crisis.
Our report looks at the measures that are
needed to end the “conflict minerals” trade
– and to ensure that eastern Congo’s mines help
rather than hinder development.
Cracking the conflict minerals trade requires
rapid action by companies and governments
alike. Companies need to comply with the due
diligence standards set by the UN Security
Council and those being finalised by the
Organisation for Economic Cooperation
and Development (OECD). Governments
– including major powers such as the UK, US
and China – need to make sure that this is being
done. International aid donors to the Great
Lakes region must start using their influence to
ensure that governments in Congo and Rwanda
start facing up to their responsibilities.
Abstract: The links between conflict and the extraction of a given resource
are not always so clear-cut, however, and a country's resource
wealth does not necessarily lead to violent conflict, as the
examples of Norway and Canada, but also Botswana and Chile
show. Yet resource-rich countries do appear to be more
susceptible to conflict than the resource-poor. This risk seems to
be greatest when resource extraction accounts for a substantial
proportion (around 30%) of GDP1: in other words, in countries
which are largely dependent on the export of primary commodities
such as metal ores, oil and gas. This does not apply to
countries with major oil fields and a small population, such as
Brunei, Dubai and Kuwait, which can use the substantial revenues
generated by their oil exports to purchase social peace.
Yet in most resource dependent economically poor countries in
Africa, Latin America and Asia, resource extraction is linked to
conflict. So the question is this: which role do natural resources
play in conflicts?