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Slide 1: A raging conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (shortened to DRC) that has caused at least more than

5 million deaths is still continuing. The atrocities that are happening in the situation are more than just inhumane; they cannot be tolerated at all. This picture depicts only part of the violence: Faustin Mugisa, an 8 year old has machete scars all over his body and head. His father found him in a sea of corpses, left to die. His mum and seven siblings were all hacked to death by the armed groups. It is time to let the people know the horror inside the Democratic Republic of Congo. Slide 2: What is the Congo Civil War? The Congo Civil War is a civil war that is taking place in the Democratic Republic of Congo (which was formerly known as Zaire), as suggested by its name. It is the bloodiest conflict to ever take place since World War 2. Since the outbreak in 1998, 5.4 million people have died. The majority of the death numbers were cases of malnutrition and diseases, but if the civil war wasnt happening, there wouldnt have been this much spread of malnutrition and diseases. Slide 3: Why is it happening? It started off by a variety of reasons, but the main cause of the conflict is the fight over the rich amount of natural resources and minerals. As said by many, the land of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been blessed with so many minerals and natural resources, but instead the outcome was a bloody war that involved mass raping and torturing. Various political agendas of different countries and the Democratic Republic of Congo itself have also sparked, ignited and encouraged the conflict. If the ex-President of Congo and the Belgian conquerors did not used the natural resources for their own gain and left the population to die, none of this would have happened. If companies didnt fund the conflict by paying for their natural resources, this issue wouldve stopped long ago. If countries didnt sell guns or provide military training, there wouldnt have been this many bloodshed. This affected the development gap vastly because if this issue didnt happen, DRC will be truly blessed by the natural resources and minerals DRC contains. They wouldve been able to live a very peaceful life. There wouldnt be any tortures, massacres or mass rapes. There wouldnt be the issue of conflict minerals. There wouldnt be the issue of child soldiers. Slide 4: Why is this issue important? This issue is extremely important because, as I have stated before, over 5 million people have died in this conflict. This conflict also caused a lot of other problems, which I would go into later. It is also extremely important, as this would be a huge hindrance for the world to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by the end of 2015. Currently, the goals seem impossible to reach, but with the co-operation of all nations to actually stop encouraging conflicts and actually try to stop the massacres, it might be possible. Slide 5: Who is involved? Plenty of nations and corporations. Most of them have a similar goal, which is to earn money. They do this by plenty of ways, with the most famous being the investment in conflict minerals, military training and weapon selling. The weapons and military training come from Soviet bloc countries and the United States. The US military is in fact secretly involved in the conflict along with several American companies (with one linked to the former

President of the United States: George Bush Senior). They have been and still are funding the war for financial gains. The United Nations released a report at the end of October 2003, which listed approximately 125 companies and individuals that are contributing either directly or indirectly to the Congo Civil War. Slide 6: Continuing from the last slide, neighbouring countries are also involved in the conflict. Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia are all involved. Before the assassination of Congolese President Laurent Kaliba in January 2001, Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia supported the Congolese government whereas the government of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi backed the rebels. The reasons for some regions of Africa in taking part in the conflict are very unclear and opinion-based. Slide 7: What are conflict minerals? Conflict minerals are minerals that are mined to fund the conflict. Innocent civilians are forced to mine minerals by the armed groups. The armed groups use mass rape, torture and killing to intimidate and force the civilians to mine for them. Children are also forced to do this. The amount of minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo is very rich, particularly in the Eastern part where most of the violence occurs. The main minerals that the DRC provides include water, diamonds, coltan, cassiterite, copper, tungsten and timber. At one point, the price for tantalum increased around the world, which introduced a huge spike into the DRCs mining for coltan. Nearly half of the 30 million carats of diamonds exported from the DRC each year are untraceable. Slide 8: Where do all the conflict minerals go? The conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo are mainly sold to companies that manufacture electronics such as cell phones, portable music players and computers. The fact that the conflict minerals are smuggled so easily shows how corrupted the system is. It also makes it extremely hard for the consumers and buyers to differentiate which products contain minerals. The hand phones you have, the laptops you use, the MP3 player you use to play music. All of them could have been exchanged with the life of 20 people. And what you pay them is only a mere few thousand bucks. Is this morally right? Slide 9: Armed groups. The armed groups in the DRC are a combination of several rebel groups across Rwanda, Uganda, Congo, Burundi, Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The groups are the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Bundu dia Kongo, Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda (FDLR), Front Contre Loccupation Tutsie (FLOT), Les Mongoles, Mai-Mai, Mouvement de Liberation Congolais (MLC), Rastas, Rassemblement Congolais pour la Democratie (RCD) and the Union of Patriotic Congolese (UPC). They have cruel ways of continuing the conflict, such as looting, which results in massacres, mass tortures and mass raping, stealing from medical centres, robbing villages and pillaging food aid. They also disrupt humanitarian assistance and forced innocent villagers to work for them. The armed groups also use a lot of sexual exploitation as a strategy. Slide 10: Child soldiers. The estimated number of children that are forced to be soldiers is one in ten children or 30,000 children in other words. The UN predicted that 15-30% of the newly recruited soldiers are less than 18 years old.

It is also estimated that 30-40% of the child soldiers are female. The female child soldiers are frequently used as sex slaves. The child soldiers are forced to commit atrocious crimes, as a boy called Kalami revealed to Amnesty International what he was forced to do. The 15-year-old was forced to kill a family, cut up their bodies and eat them. He then says that his life is lost; there is nothing for him to live for. Child soldiers are usually forcefully recruited into the armed groups by force, but sometimes they voluntarily join the armed groups and military because they provide protection and provisions. The armed groups and military may be viewed as their only family after a while. Slide 11: The child soldiers will find it extremely hard to return to their families, mainly because of three reasons. The first reason is that the armed groups would have probably already murdered the childs family if the child was already captured The second reason is that the family wont accept the child back to their family because they would be ashamed of all the crimes and atrocities that the child has committed. Lastly, the family would not want the child back in their house to protect them from other villagers who might not be welcome towards the childs return. Are children really supposed to be treated this way? Slide 12: Wildlife. Wildlife is also affected by the conflict. Gorillas are endangered species yet they are often overrun when the armed groups are exploiting minerals and natural resources. The conflict caused a huge increase in poverty which resulted in people hunting wildlife to find food, primarily apes. Slide 13: Brutal Statistics. Here are some statistics that will make you realise the importance of this issue. As you can see from this table, the DRC contributes the most diamonds in Africa, with plenty of them being conflict diamonds. The Kimberly Process Statistical Data Base recorded this table. They are an organisation that was created to combat conflict diamonds. Children account for 47% of the deaths, even though they are only 19% of the whole population. Even though the amount of violence decreased, there are more than two million people that are still displaced. More than one million displaced civilians still didnt receive any assistance. Slide 14: This is a map showing the types of diamonds mined in the DRC. As shown by this graph, the east is rich with diamonds and other natural resources, which is why this region has the highest amount of violence going on. At least 37% of the population (approximately 18.5 million) have no access to any type of formal health care. There are only 2,056 doctors for a population of 50 million. Infant mortality rates in the east region of DRC have risen up to 41% per year. Malnutrition that occurs to children under the age of 5 have risen 30% in some areas. Slide 15: This is a table that shows the diamond exports in DRC. As you can see, a huge amount is exported each year, with a huge amount of them being conflict diamonds. The Kimberly Process, the CEEC and the Ministry of Mines recorded this data, which makes it extremely reliable. 2.5 million people live on less than US$1 per day. Some parts in the eastern region of DRC have people living on

US$0.18 per day. 80% of families in rural areas are displaced. Between 800,000 and 900,000 children are orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Slide 16: This table shows the amount and value of diamonds produced in 1999. As you can see, the DRC produced the most diamonds out of all the countries. Think about how many people suffered for this amount of diamonds. Unbelievable. 40% of the health infrastructure has been destroyed in Masisi, North Kivu. Only 45% of the population have access to clean water. In some rural areas, some as low as 3% have access to clean water. 4 out of 10 children, which is to say, approximately 400,000 children do not have access to education. Theses statistics just show how important this issue needs to be solved. Slide 17: What has the world done to help? Not a lot, considering the size of this conflict. The DRC ratified several international treaties to protect the rights of the children, but these have barely done anything to protect the children. At the end of August 2002, a peace agreement has been signed to supposedly end the civil war. It is quite ironic since it was only the President of Rwanda and the President of DRC who actually signed it. Predictably, gems and minerals are still forcibly mined, and the conflict still rages on. For an issue this big, there are not a lot of people that know about the conflict in DRC, making it hard for anyone to help the people in DRC. Slide 18: What are the possible ways of solving this issue? Although these are out of our hands, if the United Nations can make the guidelines of the Fairtrade Foundation and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights mandatory, they can stop the conflicts. What is the point of making guidelines and not enforcing it? And again, how do we ensure that everyone is following the guidelines? The United Nations can create a Non-Governmental Organisation or a peacekeeping force to monitor/report any important violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the guidelines of the Fairtrade Foundation and try to stop the unnecessary amount of violence. By doing this, not only will it solve Fairtrade issues, it will also help all nations to reach the Millennium Development Goals. The United Nations could also ensure that all countries give developing countries a suitable amount of aid and not actually encourage the conflict. The United Nations also can form a Non-Governmental Organisation to ensure that the aid is put into good use, and not just into the military. Think about it. Do the companies in US are so desperate to gain profit that they fund a bloody conflict? All they care about is money. It is time that humans should grasp the concept of humanity. There are other ways of earning money that doesnt involve conflicts. If the United Nations can actually do make all these guidelines mandatory and implement the peacekeeping forces, countries can really unite as one and solve any global issues. Slide 19: Even if these United Nations does apply all of these, the system is still corrupted and there will still be plenty of smuggling and undoubtedly the issue will still continue. Even though certain people might think of it as unrealistic, something must be done to stop the conflict. Think of these as the first steps, it will minimise the issue but to completely eradicate it is almost impossible.

Slide 20: How can we help? This issue is extremely brutal yet it is not as well known as other issues, considering the size of this issue. So we can all help by raising awareness, and keep away from electronics that contains conflict minerals. We could also help by giving aid and charity to developing countries if we know they are being put into good use. Slide 21: Thank you for listening. Remember, if we stay united, any problem can be solved.