Canada’s NDP introduces bill to battle ‘conflict minerals’ in Congo

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, March 26, 2013 11:52AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 26, 2013 1:23PM EDT

OTTAWA – NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar has introduced a bill to fight the spread of so-called “conflict minerals” in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Dewar said that minerals from the war-ravaged nation have been used to fund an armed conflict that has claimed more than five million lives. Dewar travelled to Congo four years ago and was deeply moved by the scale of the violence in the resource-rich African country.

Canada's NDP introduces bill to battle 'conflict minerals' in Congo

A miner walks out of a once-lucrative cassiterite mining shaft in eastern Congo in this August 2012 file photo. (AP Photo/Marc Hofer)

He launched an awareness campaign Tuesday with the help of Quebec students, and the organizations Partnership Africa Canada and STAND Canada.

The campaign is similar to the efforts more than a decade ago that led to controls on the spread of blood diamonds, which were used to finance rebels in West Africa.

The rebels that terrorized Sierra Leone and Liberia became notorious for hacking off the limbs of children with machetes. In 2000, an international regulatory initiative called the Kimberley Process — which featured some key Canadian participants — helped stem the flow of blood diamonds from several African countries.

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