The Coalition for a Conflict-Free St Andrews has released a video petition in response to a perceived lack of action taken by the European Union regarding conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Coalition is made up of 14 different societies, which aim to raise awareness of “the illicit extraction, trade, and exploitation of natural resources that are funding armed groups (conflict minerals) in the Congo,” said Coalition Director, Bennett Collins.

He added: “Conflict minerals are found in almost all electronics. The electronics industry has known that their sourcing methods have been environmentally and ethically irresponsible for the past two decades and have done very little in response. There are companies, such as Apple and Intel who have taken major steps to address their products’ connection to the conflict in the eastern Congo, but there are still companies like Nintendo and HTC who [are] yet to act”.

The video was made by various individuals affiliated to the Coalition, including David Cihelna (music) and Maia Krall Fry (direction and editing).

Collins said about the video: “speaking with Scottish Member of European Parliament David Martin, we found out that European Parliament will not require companies to meet UN and OECD sourcing guidelines, let alone move on any conflict mineral legislation until 2014.  This video and Change.org petition are in response to this lack of action by the EU despite their awareness of this illicit trade.”

Last year, the University of St Andrews became the first further education institution in the UK to produce a policy in response to conflict minerals. Since then, partner campaigns have begun at Glasgow University, Exeter University, University College London and Warwick University.

There are further projects to come. On 19-20 April this year, the Coalition and the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics (in association with the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, Christian Aid, the Students’ Association and the 600th Anniversary Campaign) will host a conference titled ‘Looking Forward in the Eastern Congo: Roles to be Played by the International Community’. Expected speakers include world-renowned Africanists Gerard Prunier and Koen Vlassenroot, actress and director Shana Mongwanga and author Kevin Dunn. Find more information here.

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