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A critical analysis of human rights due diligence processes in conflict minerals supply chains
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A critical analysis of human rights due diligence processes in conflict minerals supply chains


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SAIIA Natural Resource Thery in Africa, J'burg, 27 November 2012

SAIIA Natural Resource Thery in Africa, J'burg, 27 November 2012

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  • 1. A critical analysis of human rights duediligence processes in mineral supply chains: A case of conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo Sustainable Prosperity: New Challenges for Natural Resource Governance Theory in Africa SAIIA Roundtable Discussion, Johannesburg 27 November 2012 Miho Taka Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies (CPRS)
  • 2. Background –The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)• Two wars between 1996-1997 and 1998-2003 and ongoing conflict in the eastern DRC.• One of the worst humanitarian crises claimed more than five million people’s lives since 1998.• 1.7 million IDPs (UNHCR) – ‘pendulum displacement’ (IRIN).• 491,500 refugees in end-2011 (UNHCR).• ‘The rape capital of the world’ (UN). Source: World Factbook 2001, CIA
  • 3. Background - Conflict minerals• Numerous studies on the role of minerals exploitation in fuelling the DRC conflict.• Resource curse theory.• Conflict resources are ‘natural resources whose control, exploitation, trade, taxation, or protection contribute to, or benefit from the context of, armed conflict’ (Le Billion 2003: 216).• A growing demand for Tantalite, Tin, Tungsten (3Ts) and gold from the electronics and other industries.• Artisanal small-scale mining and informal economy in the DRC.
  • 4. Aims and objectivesTo examine the challenges of developing and applying human rights due diligence process in the global minerals supply chains.• To introduce the human rights due diligence framework.• To review the development of multi-stakeholder initiatives to achieve traceability and apply human rights due diligence in the global minerals supply chains.• To identify the challenges for the initiatives.• To discuss the perspectives and conditions in the DRC.
  • 5. Human rights due diligence• The UN Business and Human Rights framework, developed by John Ruggie, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in 2008.• Three core principles: ‘the State duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business; the corporate social responsibility to respect human rights ; and the need for more effective access to remedies.’• Due diligence defined as ‘a process whereby companies not only ensure compliance with national laws but also manage the risk of human rights harm with a view to avoiding it.’
  • 6. Applying human rights due diligence• It is increasingly driven by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Section 1502.• Traceability is the key.• The nature of minerals supply chains poses enormous challenges: artisanal small-scale mining; informal economy; metal market; confidentiality; influence; and costs.• Multi-stakeholder initiatives are developed to address the challenges.
  • 7. Multi-stakeholder initiatives• OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.• International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Regional Certification Mechanism (RCM).• Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) & Global e- Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) Conflict Free Smelter Program (CFS).• International Tin Research Institute (ITRI) Tin Supply Chain Initiatives (iTSCi).• BGR (German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources) Certified Trading Chains (CTC) .• Solution for Hope Project.
  • 8. Discussions• An external agenda to secure responsible raw materials.• Negative impact on the ground.• Obstacles for implementation in the DRC: the lack of security and political will; artisanal small-scale mining and mineral trade – illegal/informal activity; governance issues.• Missing local voices in the multi-stakeholder processes: what is conflict minerals?; mine ownership conflict and political conflict; poverty and the lack of infrastructures; governance issues.