Our mining companies' responsibility to the Congo: Response from FOTC Canada
The 2002, 2003 and 2008 UN reports from the Panel of Experts on Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth in the Democratic Republic of Congo establish a clear link between the presence of mining companies and the militarization that leads to crimes against humanity in the Congo. Moreover, it is the case that half of the worldwide capital raised for mining and mineral exploration companies is done through the Toronto Stock Exchange.
However, the remedy proposed in this article, voluntary corporate responsibility, is insufficient. To suggest that mining companies can solve the problem without addressing the issue of their very culpability is not helpful. Hence, this is a band aid solution that gives mining companies carte blanche to continue doing harm while pretending to be philanthropists.
As a Congolese, my people need empowerment towards self-reliance for security, social and political capacity building in the Congo within the framework of local institutions. Firstly, a transparent and equitable consultation process with the Congolese for access to their land via a wholesale renegotiation of the current mining contracts that one-sidedly benefit the mining companies.
Secondly, fair-minded United States and Canadian citizens need to pressure their government to enact transparent and mandatory legislative programmes to reign in the mining companies. Liberal MP John McKay’s Bill C-300 is a necessary first step.
Finally, Canada should take necessary measures along with the US and the international community to assert diplomatic pressure on Rwanda and Uganda so as to stop the latter’s support of militias and military intervention in the Congo. The West must favour a political settlement rather an illusive military solution.
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Bodia Macharia, President
Friends of the Congo, University of Toronto