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Liberal MP Joyce Murray calls for action on humanitarian tragedy in the Congo

Posted on June 20, 2012

For Immediate Release

OTTAWA, ON – Earlier today, Vancouver Quadra MP Joyce Murray tabled a motion in the House of Commons calling on the Prime Minister to work toward industry accountability and labelling to eliminate “conflict minerals” from the Democratic Republic of the Congo from being used in Canadian electronic products.

Minerals mined in the DRC—and used in Canada—help finance a war that, since 1994, has claimed over five million lives, making it one of the bloodiest conflicts since World War II. Women and girls are routinely victims of atrocity and abuse in what has been called the “rape capital of the world.”

“The Canadian government needs to provide leadership in developing a framework that can improve the security of those living in warring regions of eastern Congo, and prevent this horrendous exploitation of African women and girls.” said Ms Murray, who herself immigrated to Canada from Africa as a child.

Purchasing common electronic goods like cell-phones and computers can inadvertently fuel this horrendous war. Armed DRC groups tax and trade certain minerals, such as coltan and tin, which can end up in products on Canadian store shelves. Illegal profits from these mineral sales provide rebel and militia groups with cash to buy weapons and to continue terrorizing women and communities to keep control over the mineral-rich lands.

MP Murray’s motion requires that the government develop a strategy to:

  • Require electronic companies based in or selling in the Canadian market to make their supply chains more transparent, and determine if they are using minerals that were sourced from war-affected regions of eastern Congo.
  • charge an independent monitoring body with a mandate to certify products that have been determined to be “DRC conflict-free”
  • encourage a labelling scheme for all products declared “DRC conflict-free”.

“Canadian businesses engaged in the global economy must operate responsibly around the world. Liberals share their commitment to corporate social responsibility and believe in the need for an open and transparent process. The federal government has an important role in ensuring a level playing field.”

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For more information contact:

Jeff Guignard
Office of Joyce Murray
613-992-2430

MOTION

M-401 — June 20, 2012 — Ms. Murray (Vancouver Quadra) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) develop a strategy to require Canadian industries that manufacture products that contain tin, tantalum, tungsten, or gold, and companies selling products containing one or more of these elements in Canada’s markets, to ensure transparency in their supply chains for minerals from which these elements are extracted to determine whether or not their products contain conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by (i) tracing back through their supply chains and submitting an annual report to the appropriate governmental body to determine the source of these minerals and, if the source is found to be in the DRC or an adjoining country, providing additional reporting that determines the mine of origin for such minerals and a description of the measures taken to exercise due diligence on the source and supply chain of such minerals to ensure that the purchase of such minerals did not benefit armed groups in the DRC or an adjoining country, (ii) obtaining an independent private sector audit of this reporting to provide independent verification; (b) explore charging an independent monitoring body with a mandate to certify products that have been determined to be “DRC conflict-free” and encourage that all products containing tin, tantalum, tungsten or gold that have been found to be “DRC conflict-free” include a label indicating such, in order for consumers to know at the point of purchase which products are certifiably not fuelling armed conflict in the DRC.

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