HRW on DR Congo: Gold fuels massive human rights atrocities
The lure of gold has fuelled massive human rights atrocities in the northeastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Human Rights Watch said in a new report published today. Local warlords and international companies are among those benefiting from access to gold rich areas while local people suffer from ethnic slaughter, torture and rape.
Corporations should ensure their activities support peace and respect for human rights in volatile areas such as northeastern Congo, not work against them.
The Curse of Gold Report
HRW June 2 - The 159-page report, "The Curse of Gold," documents how local armed groups fighting for the control of gold mines and trading routes have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity using the profits from gold to fund their activities and buy weapons.
The report provides details of how a leading gold mining company, AngloGold Ashanti, part of the international mining conglomerate Anglo American, developed links with one murderous armed group, the Nationalist and Integrationist Front (FNI), helping them to access the gold-rich mining site around the town of Mongbwalu in the northeastern Ituri district.
The Human Rights Watch report also illustrates the trail of tainted gold from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to neighboring Uganda from where it is sent to global gold markets in Europe and elsewhere.
The report documents how a leading Swiss gold refining company, Metalor Technologies, previously bought gold from Uganda. After discussions and correspondence with Human Rights Watch beginning in December 2004, and after the report had gone to press, the company announced on May 20 that it would suspend its purchases of gold from Uganda. The Metalor statement was welcomed by Human Rights Watch. Read full report.