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by Eliana | August 11, 2010 at 9:04 AM
Conflict free cell phones!
Let your voice be heard.
Go to www.takepart.org/congowomen and read about how computer and cell phone producers implement the conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Sorry the site is:
Taking part in the campaign for "Conflict Free cell phones", yesterday I got a first reply.
Mr. Wagner, Customer service, from Nintendo send his reply that Nintendo does not buy raw materials and minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo. For their products they use finished supplies that are produced following the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Guidelines.
I appreciated the fact that Mr Wagner of Nintendo customer service took his time to reply to the letter sent to him and to many other cell phone and electronic supply producers (i.e. Nokia, Siemens, Motorola). He was the only one up to now to react and to try at least to explain how they deal with the delicate topic. Nevertheless, his answer is not really exhaustive because, eventhough they buy already finished supplies, there is no information on where the single metals and raw materials are taken from. So it is possible, that without knowing it precisely, they still exploit the mines in Congo and sustain the Guerilla fighters. I would appreciate a deeper analysis on the subject by the Nintendo because they stand for their product. Apart from that, since July 2010, the United States passed a law according to which, the producers of cell phones and technology have to state clearly where they take the metals from. Not being an American citizen, I am not aware on how this rather new law is implemented in United States but I hope there is some seriousity in the control. In the EU unfortunately this law does not exist and so there is still a danger of supporting the Guerilla in Congo by using tantalium, coltan and other metals. In his article "Field Dispatch: Conflict minerals windfall for armed forces in Eastern Congo" on www.enoughproject.org/publications the author Fidel Bafilemba shows on the one hand how the guerilla armed forces enriched themselves (they owe upper class restaurants, huge villas, gas stations) and still continue doing so by trading the metals of Congo's mines illegally. On the other hand Bafilemba points out to the fact that people don't have alternatives to this illegal business because there are no possibilities to work due to the weakened and instabled situation. So the illagal trade up to now is the only way of earning their living. This should be a consideration taken into account by all of those, NGOs, Governamental Organizations and International Community, when projecting and planning.
Apart from that I am wondering how the "Corporate Social Responsibility" (CSR) is translated into concrete action. There do not exist any written guidelines to regulate it. Is it just a matter of sustaining children projects or campaigns against poverty while at the same time these enterprises and supply producers exploit children and poverty for their own sake: producing at low cost and under deplorable conditions? Without any respect of dignity and Human rights of the workers, without sanitary facilities, without the respect of working hours, treating people like slaves and exploiting nature. And this is all supported by politics in the countries of production (i.e. China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Brazil, Central Africa, etc,) where democracy sometimes not even exists on the paper and where capitalism appears in form of comunism. And people are still dying as a consequence of poverty, malnutrition, lack of sanitation. Is this Corporate Social Responsibility?
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