The Just Gold project is the first to successfully trace conflict-free and legal artisanal gold from mine site to export applying regional and international standards.
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 17, 2017 – Partnership Africa Canada (PACweb.org) today announced the Just Gold project has successfully implemented a system to trace legal and conflict-free artisanal gold in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Just Gold project began as a pilot in Ituri Province in 2015. Today’s announcement is a milestone for the project—moving it from the pilot stage—having proven a successful chain of custody from mine site to exporter.
“After almost two years of testing the Just Gold project with an aim to develop a chain of custody and due diligence system for artisanal gold in DRC, we are excited to share news of our success,” said Joanne Lebert, Partnership Africa Canada’s Executive Director.
“The Just Gold project can now move from a period of testing to implementation and ensuring we have a long-term, sustainable and viable solution for traceable, legal and conflict-free exports of artisanal gold from Congo,” said Lebert. “We look forward to sharing our lessons learned with key actors and to deepening our collaboration with the DRC Government.”
The Just Gold project creates incentives for artisanal gold miners to channel their product to legal exporters—and eventually responsible consumers—by offering fair and transparent pricing and by providing capacity-building, such as technical assistance to miners in return for legal sales. Miners are taught better exploitation techniques and offered Juts Gold project equipment, in return for which any gold produced must be tracked and sold through legal channels.
“Proving that artisanal gold in eastern Congo can be conflict-free, legal and traceable is a major step in responsible sourcing efforts in the Great Lakes region. The government of Democratic Republic of Congo is taking major strides in complying with regional standards and demonstrating how the implementation the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains can contribute to progressive improvements in the sector, supporting artisanal gold men and women miners to enter international markets,” said Lebert.
Partnership Africa Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Minister of Mines Martin Kabwelulu on September 2016, outlining support for the organization’s activities to strengthen natural resource governance. Specifically, the Ministry of Mines recognized the Just Gold project as a system of traceability and encouraged its implementation. Partnership Africa Canada has provided technical support to the Ministry since 2011.
Current activities in DRC include the Just Gold project, capacity building to implement both the International Conference on the Great Lakes (ICGLR) Regional Certification Mechanism (RCM) and the OECD Due Diligence Guidance applicable to high-value minerals, as well as support to civil society for monitoring and reporting on supply chain integrity.
Partnership Africa Canada has also undertaken research and analysis of the artisanal gold supply chain to understand women’s roles in the sector. Through sensitization and outreach, the Just Gold project improves awareness of women’s rights, and their right to access, control and benefit of resources. The project also supports and fosters women’s leadership opportunities through skills-building and training.
Partnership Africa Canada’s work in DRC developed from its engagement as a technical partner to the ICGLR, providing capacity-building to implement the six tools developed by the ICGLR’s Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources.
Funding for the Just Gold project and Partnership Africa Canada’s work in the Great Lakes region is provided by Global Affairs Canada. Additional funding for the Just Gold project is provided by USAID through the Capacity Building for Responsible Minerals Trade (CBRMT) project and International Organization for Migration.
“The people back home wouldn’t buy a ring if they knew it cost someone else their hand” – Maddy Brown (Blood Diamond, 2006).
The European Union are acting out of care and thinking of transparency for the industrial imports and mineral exporters. This is happening just a little month after the United States opened up their legislation for importing more from conflict zones. While the European Union plans to close the gate from areas and from sources that export Conflict minerals.
So the EU laws are becoming more stricter than the United States, even if the law they have enacted in the European Parliament and Council of the European Union, will be effective from 2021. So it is 4 years until it has giant effect and gives time to refinery and importers to change behavior. Something that is necessary, as well as the public have to grow concern of the affects of buying conflict minerals. Even as the conflict minerals still come into the market of Europe and into the refineries so the consumers doesn’t know and cannot follow where their products who contain minerals comes from war-zones.
That the European Union takes this serious and acts upon this Nobel, and proves that they does not want to support militias and guerrillas that keeps control of mineral rich areas and their exports to supply weapons and continue warfare in for instance the African Great Lakes Region. Take a look!
Background of new rule:
“This Regulation, by controlling trade in minerals from conflict areas, is one of the ways of eliminating the financing of armed groups. The Union’s foreign and development policy action also contributes to fighting local corruption, to the strengthening of borders and to providing training for local populations and their representatives in order to help them highlight abuses” (EU, P: 8, 2017).
Conflict Minerals from Great Lakes Region:
“The Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy should regularly review their financial assistance to and political commitments with regard to conflict-affected and high-risk areas where tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold are mined, in particular in the African Great Lakes Region, in order to ensure policy coherence, and in order to incentivise and strengthen the respect for good governance, the rule of law and ethical mining” (EU, P: 16, 2017).
Trade of Minerals funds armed conflicts:
“Preventing the profits from the trade in minerals and metals being used to fund armed conflict through due diligence and transparency will promote good governance and sustainable economic development. Therefore, this Regulation incidentally covers areas falling within the Union policy in the field of development cooperation in addition to the predominant area covered which falls under the common commercial policy of the Union” (EU, P:17, 2017).
“Article 3: Compliance of Union importers with supply chain due diligence obligations
1. Union importers of minerals or metals shall comply with the supply chain due diligence obligations set out in this Regulation and shall keep documentation demonstrating their respective compliance with those obligations, including the results of the independent third-party audits” (EU, P: 23, 2017).
Date of Application:
“Articles 1(5), 3(1), 3(2), Articles 4 to 7, Articles 8(6), 8(7), 10(3), 11(1), 11(2), 11(3), 11(4), Articles 12 and 13, Article 16(3), and Article 17 shall apply from 1 January 2021” (EU, P: 51, 2017).
What the statements on the law:
“The Commission will consider making additional legislative proposals targeted at EU companies with products containing tin, tantalum, and tungsten and gold in their supply chain should it conclude that the aggregate efforts of the EU market on the responsible global supply chain of minerals are insufficient to leverage responsible supply behaviour in producer countries, or should it assess that the buy-in of downstream operators that have in place supply chain due diligence systems in line with the OECD guidance is insufficient” (…) “In the exercise of its empowerment to adopt delegated acts pursuant to Article 1(5), the Commission will take due account of the objectives of this Regulation, notably as set out in recitals (1), (7), (10) and (17). In doing so, the Commission will, in particular, consider the specific risks associated with the operation of upstream gold supply chains in conflict affected and high-risk areas and taking into account the position of Union micro and small enterprises importing gold in the EU” (…) “In response to the request of the European Parliament for specific guidelines, the Commission is willing to develop performance indicators specific to the responsible sourcing of conflict minerals. By means of such guidelines, relevant companies with more than 500 employees that are required to disclose non-financial information in conformity with Directive 2014/95/EU would be encouraged to disclose specific information in relation to products containing tin, tantalum, tungsten or gold” (EU, P: 57-58, 2017).
The European Union is doing something positive with this. That they show effort and care for the imports and what affects the export has locally, so if the minerals export is shady, the export will cease. So if the due diligence regulation works and the industry complies, the effect can be enormous. The consumer will also know that there are not supporting by third party purchase to pay for ammunition rebels, warlords or guerrillas in far away lands. This should all be seen as step of making a better world and honorable society. Where the money is where the mouth is! Peace.
Council of the European Union – ‘Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council setting up a Union system for supply chain due diligence self-certification of responsible importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold originating in conflict-affected and high-risk areas – Outcome of the European Parliament’s first reading (Strasbourg, 13 to 16 March 2017) – (20.03.2017).
“Why is UN not paying much attention to member states that are clearly sliding into turmoil and crisis and instead is majorly involved in the after effects of Humanitarian assistance. It doesn’t make sense. We can’t wait until it’s too.” – Francis Mwijukye [35th Inter Parliamentary Union- Geneva: High level United Nations Management committee Meeting on Development assistance, Humanitarian assistance, peace keeping operations and Mormative treaty related knowledge, 26.10.2016]
We are living in a brave new world where the world order is switching… its twists and turns, the morning dew disappears and the sun kisses the earth yet again. The last few days the world has changed. Because Nations and States have made decisions that matters; they are not only talking, but now they are acting on it.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) of The Hague is under fire. After Burundi, South Africa and Gambia are thinking of pulling out of the International Court that access the genocides and crimes against humanity.
With the escalated conflicts, the stories of lives doing whatever they can flee nations, this is happening from the internal conflict inside Burundi, Burundians refugees are now in Tanzania, Rwanda and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This because the President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to stay in power for a third term; when the Constitution of Burundi said the Executive only could have two!
The same with the internal fighting between SPLM/A VS. SPLM/A-IO in South Sudan; where there is battle of power between President Salva Kiir and former FVP Dr. Riek Machar. Because of the conflict in South Sudan the civilian refugees have fled to Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia. Now MONUSCO got SPLM/A-IO and Dr. Machar from the DRC to Khartoum earlier this year.
In Kenya this is happening: while the Somali Refugees are now being sent home from Kenya under the command of the government there. This happening while opposition in all of the countries mentioned has optionally torturing, arresting, detaining and even harassing them if needed be. The Kenyan Government using the fear of Al-Shabaab to send the refugees away and also hustle more donor-funding from the United States. That happens because the Jubilee apparently didn’t’ earn enough coins on NYS, Eurobonds or whatever scheme they had in play at the time.
In this New World order that is arranged while the Government are using their Security Organizations to silence opposition. While the Nation with the African Union (AU) Headquarters and are the leader of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Ethiopian Government even uses helicopters, artillery and soldiers to kill civilians in the regions of Amhara and Oromo people. This is a Nation who has soldiers in Peacekeeping mission all around the Continent, but using all kind of force to oppress their own.
So in this place and time with more totalitarian regimes, with more leaders not leaving offices and with less political freedom; the International Justice is winding down. The rule of law internationally right now is losing its power, while the United Nation’s negations and diplomatic missions like the Inter-Burundian Dialogue under former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mpaka hasn’t gone anywhere. While the dialogue between UN’s own Edem Kodjo hasn’t created anything resembling a General Election run by the CENI in the DRC. That is because President Joseph Kabila has no plan of leaving office without using force on his own. This is happening while the bloodshed continues in the Kivu’s, while the MONUSCO and FARDC watching it in silence. ADF-NALU and the Mayi-Mayi continues as well together with the Ex-FARDC Gen. Muhindo Akili Mundos has also blood on his hands. This is happening while the Rwandan State still can export high-grade minerals that they cannot even produce or has mines to extract on their soil. This has been happening since the first war in the late 1990s.
So the New World Order is more of the same… the same kind of violence, the other change is the new brave leaders who defy the International Order. They don’t want to follow it when they feel it is unfair. United Nations (UN) might be next or the World Trade Organization (WTO) or the World Health Organization (WHO). As they might respect the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the World Bank (World Bank) because they need their financial stability or the financial stimulus that backs the budgets and aspects the government needs to pay their elites, businesses and whatever it takes to keep the regimes a-float.
This is the grand issues… the human rights violations, killings and detentions… so the Presidents and their Administrations are now afraid of the ICC. They are worried that their actions be served by the Court and they have to answer for their crimes. Doesn’t matter if this court exists or not; the UN should put up Tribunals after the Internal Conflicts like they done in the past. Than it is not direct prosecutions or charges that the ICC has put on Executives or any in the inner-circle of ruling regimes as they know their using illegal forces to silence their people and citizens. Though the feelings from African Nations that they are feeling threaten by the ICC and their actions as they are not going-in on Europeans or Americans in general, while African Generals and Politicians are hand-picked.
I’m just waiting for the honourable nations of Morocco, Mauritania, Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, Togo, Guinea, and Equatorial Guinea, and so on… There are more that will make decisions to leave, as even Cote d’Ivoire might revoke their place.
There are fears on the horizon, the ICC is losing its standing, the international community better listen as the men who are greedy on power and resources take it in these days by any means and hope to get away with it, while their people suffer. The only differences at our time are that information is not forgotten or not told. It’s there for those who listen; time to consider and rethink the World Order and where we want to be. Peace.
The newest report from Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) together with United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) dropped a report about Human Rights violations this October. These shows the violations of human rights, killings and rapes that have happen over a certain time period. The reports themselves say enough about the extent of how the Government and their Security Organizations does, plus the guerrilla warfare and the results of that in the DRC.
The reports are vivid and direct from political prisoners to rape incidence… the words themselves of what they did to the civilians there. Take a look!
“Initiatives and public advocacy conducted by the Congolese authorities, with the support of the international community, have resulted in the conviction of State agents for sexual violence in conflict in at least 231 cases, during the period under review. Also, according to information made available to the UNJHRO, at least 447 soldiers of the Congolese National Army (Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo – FARDC) and 155 agents of the Congolese National Police (Police nationale congolaise – PNC) have been convicted for acts constituting human rights violations during the period under analysis. Despite the remarkable efforts made and considering the structural and financial difficulties facing the judicial system, this is a very low number compared to the 4,032 human rights violations committed by State agents. This, in addition to other factors, also shows that lack of effective prosecution contributes to the commission of other violations” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P: iv, 2016).
Conflict Areas of Congo:
“During the reporting period, the six provinces affected by the conflict in eastern DRC, namely Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu, Haut-Uélé, Bas-Uélé and Tshopo provinces registered the highest numbers of 5 human rights violations and abuses, which were mainly committed by combatants of more than 30 different armed groups. Between 1 January 2014 and end of March 2016, among the armed groups, the combatants of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) committed the largest number of abuses (685), followed by the Front for Patriotic Resistance in Ituri (FRPI) (662) and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) (424). These abuses were mainly committed during attacks launched on villages, in a bid to control territories rich in natural resources or in reprisal against some individuals suspected of cooperating with parties to the conflict” (…) “. State actors have also committed human rights violations in eastern DRC, in particular FARDC soldiers and PNC agents. These State actors, mainly FARDC soldiers, committed human rights violations or violations of international humanitarian law during military operations against armed groups” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P:4-5, 2016).
“In the current electoral context, concern has been expressed in relation to actions taken by the judiciary and viewed as Government interference in the justice system. For example, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders expressed concern about “the arbitrary detention of three human rights defenders, Mr Fred Bauma Winga, Mr Christopher Ngoy Mutamba and Mr Yves Makwambala, which seem to be related to their legitimate and peaceful human rights activities” as well as “allegations of illegal obtaining of evidence, procedural flaws and unfair trials”. The Special Rapporteur further “voiced his concern at the difficult situation in which human rights defenders exercise their right to freedom of association, of peaceful assembly, of opinion and expression, in the DRC” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P:9, 2016).
“Weaknesses in the penitentiary system have been raised on multiple occasions during 2015 Etats généraux de la justice, and identified as a major obstacle to the fight against impunity. The UNJHRO has documented the escape of 2,604 people from detention centres in 2014 and 201526. Mass escapes take place on a regular basis throughout the countr” (…) “One illustrating example is the mass escape of 18 October 2014 of 326 out of the 433 detainees (130 condemned persons and 196 people in preventive detention) from the prison of Butembo, North Kivu province, following an attack on the prison by four men armed with AK-47 trying to free nine detained soldiers who turned out to be absent from the prison. To this day, only about a hundred of those escaped persons have been found” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P: 10, 2016).
“From 1 October to 31 December 2014, at least 237 people – including 65 women and 35 children – were killed by suspected ADF combatants. At least 47 civilians were wounded, 20 were abducted and two were victims of sexual violence. During this period, suspected ADF elements have attacked at least 35 villages, using machetes, hammers and knives, amongst others, and carrying out summary executions of civilians. During the same period, the UNJHRO also documented the destruction and looting of houses. From 28 February 2016 to March 2016, civilians were targeted by suspected ADF combatants in several villages on both sides of the border between North Kivu and Ituri, in Bambuka-Kisiski (Beni territory, North Kivu province) and Bandavilemba (Irumu territory, Ituri province)” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P: 12, 2016).
FARDC rape in Goma 2012:
“In November 2012, after the capture of Goma by the M23 armed group, FARDC soldiers withdrew to Minova, in South Kivu province, where they committed mass rapes and other human rights violations during a period of 10 days. On 5 May 2014, the Military Operational Court of North Kivu delivered its verdict on this case and sentenced 26 FARDC soldiers to prison terms ranging from three years to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity. Thirteen other soldiers have meanwhile been acquitted” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P 14, 2016).
“From 20 to 22 September 2015, FARDC soldiers assigned to 33071st Battalion under the leadership of Colonel Jules Dhenyo Beker reportedly committed several human rights violations in Musenyi village, in the vicinity of Maibano, Kalehe territory, South Kivu province, during an operation to track down Rayia Mutomboki chief Mweke Atobaibwa. Civilians were arrested and taken to a school used by the military operation’s leadership. A 16-week old baby reportedly died following a beating. Nineteen women were raped (or gang-raped in some cases), 31 people were subjected to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatments and arbitrary arrests while 78 others were subjected to looting and/or extortions. The next day, a high ranking FARDC official reportedly visited the scene of the incident and ordered the population not to report what had happened” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P: 32, 2016).
“Since May 2013, at least 20 children under 12 and thirty children aged between 12 and 17 have reportedly been abducted, raped and subjected to genital mutilations in Kavumu, 35 km from Bukavu, in the groupement of Bugorhe, Kabare territory, South Kivu province. The victims were reportedly abducted in their sleep without any witness and returned home or near their residence after being raped or mutilated. According to judicial authorities, these crimes were reportedly perpetrated in the context of initiation rituals and fetishist practices. Reportedly, these rapes and abductions also sought to terrorize the local population. On 17 March 2016, in Kavumu, a human rights defender who had spoken out on cases of rape against children in Kavumu and denounced the implication of a local leader, as well as the inaction of judicial authorities, was summarily executed by armed men wearing PNC uniforms.” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P: 33, 2016).
For the ones that hasn’t followed the nation, the FARDC and the Guerrillas in the DRC will this be eye-opening, for others this is old news. Still, the reports prove certain aspects of life in regions and parts of DRC… This is more to show the dirty and nitty gritty that too many civilians and people of the DRC have lived through. This is what you can call a stern warning that people should care about the senseless violence against humanity in the DRC. Peace.
OHCA/MONUSCO – ‘Accountability for Human Rights Violations and Abuses in the DRC: Achievements, Challenges and Way forward’ (1 January 2014 – 31 March 2016) – October 2016