conflict minerals

We rarely think about how our beloved smartphones are made, but behind many a device is a tale of human suffering.
After years of campaigning, the European Union has agreed an outline deal to combat the unchecked trade in natural resources, which fuels some of the world's most brutal conflicts, underwriting child labour, sexual violence and modern slavery.
The fight, however, is not yet over: we now need to get the support of a majority of the EU's 28 Member States before this important piece of legislation can be enacted. I hope that our own UK government will find itself on the principled side of this argument.
We are at a critical juncture. The Bangladesh Accord, the Modern Slavery Act, and conflict minerals legislation in the US and central Africa, are landmark achievements that show that business can be done responsibly and need not take place in the shadows. By dragging its feet instead of building on these achievements the EU risks undermining this progress...
We cannot afford to allow another tragedy to take place in Africa and we cannot afford to be complacent in our response. The regional ramifications and the human cost are too great for this to be another forgotten crisis.
This week has seen a flurry of activity around an issue that for far too long has been forgotten, silenced or viewed as an inevitable consequence of war: sexual violence in conflict. All of this is extremely important - but in the rush to 'do something' about the horrific crimes being committed in Syria, Central African Republic, Nigeria, and other conflict zones, we should not forget some basic premises.
A version of this article previously appeared on the New Statesman business blog. Earlier this week, Global Witness, the
Taking all this into account, the potential gains for education on the back of recent discoveries of natural resources in sub-Saharan Africa are enormous. Several countries, including Ghana, Malawi, Uganda and Zambia could reach universal primary education without needing any more aid from donors.
Accountability and responsibility; where does it start and where does it end? Growing up always comes with taking on greater responsibilities, and we soon learn that our decisions not only affect our own lives, but also those of others, either close or unknown to us. The same counts for our actions, and the direct and indirect consequences they may trigger.
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