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Making Technology Conflict Free

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12 March 2014

Important progress has been made in the push for the provision of ‘conflict-free' technology.

Buying a smart phone is like buying a bullet.

In 2013 we told you about conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the terrible violence against women and girls. “Conflict minerals” like coltan help to fund violence because the minerals trade is controlled by violent militias, who use the profits to buy more weapons. Women and girls are brutally raped as a weapon of war.

Last year hundreds of us took part in the Your Call campaign. 

  • We ‘fasted’ from our mobile phones for a day. 
  • And we emailed major electronics companies asking for phones to be conflict-free.

So what's been happening since?

Be encouraged! Two giant companies, Apple and Intel have just made public a list of their suppliers which are sourcing ethical minerals. 

  • So far, around half Apple's suppliers are guaranteed by an independent auditor to use conflict-free coltan. 
  • Intel has also announced that it has completely cleaned up its production processes and from this year all its products are conflict-free. Read more here.

“This is a really positive move, and shows that campaigning works. It's very encouraging that two major producers are taking conflict-free coltan seriously. And it shows a genuine attempt - not just a token effort - to trace coltan sources. It can be done."
-  Amanda Jackson

The companies have acted because people like us have asked AND because the US passed a law in 2010 that requires companies to report the source of their raw materials from this year.

Laws are important and our actions are important! We still need other companies to act. In the latest news, the EU is currently discussing voluntary auditing. You can read more about that here.

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This piece is an update from Amanda Jackson – Head of Campaigns and Policy at Micah Challenge International