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Congo: A Silent Genocide

Congo, or the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has been exploited and the setting of numerous conflicts over the past two decades due to its rich mining sector. Other nations have enslaved, colonized, and systematically pressed Congo for its raw minerals; even after the country claimed its independence.

It is estimated that the conflict caused by Western nations intervening in the DCR has caused over 5.4 million deaths, the second-highest toll since World War II. This is all in the name of cobalt and copper, materials crucial for rechargeable batteries for technology. Such as electric vehicles and smartphones, which are of immense value to the tech and energy sectors. 

Even though Congo has a rich mining sector and an abundance of raw minerals, most of the population struggles with widespread poverty. Lacking access to basic human needs such as food, water, or safety. Over 6.9 million people have been displaced due to an increase in violence and human rights abuse.

While the tech industry benefits and profits off of Congo’s natural resources. The local population is continually exploited, and their rights ignored. Human Rights Organization, Amnesty International, as well as local entities have reported “forced evictions, sexual assaults, arson, and beatings related to the expansion of multinational mining companies”. 

Many of these violent acts are committed by Rwanda or Uganda-backed rebels or militias. However, what most may not realize is that Western countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and France are the ones arming and supplying these militias. With resources as a form of post-colonial intervention and a way to keep the prices of cobalt and other raw materials low. 

Not only is the situation in Congo a human rights crisis, it is also an ecological one.

The Congolese government has put out a statement asking for aid for the millions of people living in displacement camps, and has called the situation in the nation a “silent genocide” in a “cry of distress and protest”. 

"Unprovoked and large-scale massacres of the civilian population, targeted extermination of the youth, systematic rapes as a weapon of war; once more cruelty of exceptional virulence is raging against the local populations who never wished for anything more than a peaceful and decent life on their land," State Congolese authorities. 

While the advancement of technology and innovative ways to use resources is the key to a sustainable future for the whole world. There is a correct and just way to source and extract raw materials. There exists a need for an ethical and strictly regulated mining industry in Congo and other vulnerable areas, as well as a safe and dignified life for the people residing in these nations that is not harmed by Western interventionism.

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