Photo Courtesy of Marcus Bleasdale

HULL CAN HELP STOP THE TRADE IN CONFLICT MINERALS

Our ability to communicate is extraordinary, but we have a problem with this, because all of these electronic devices, that allow us to do, what we do, come with a price. That price is conflict minerals, natural resources that are dug out of the ground by children, and guarded by child soldiers. These minerals are often referred to as 3TG, the name for Tin, Tantalum, Tungsten and Gold, which are used in our laptops, tablets and mobile phones.

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VIDEO EDITED AND PRODUCED BY MIKE RILEY: Video material provided by The Enough Project, Intel, Raise Hope for Congo.
Music – written and performed by Miss Julia Martin. Photographs courtesy of Marcus Bleasdale & Mark Craemer.

It sounds a daunting project to be ‘Conflict Free’, however in reality, it is a simple declaration that Hull City Council will endeavour to procure their IT equipment from companies that have checked the supply chain, to ensure that the source minerals benefit, rather than harm Congolese communities.

Photos Courtesy of Sirius Academy & Thomas Ferens Academy

  • STOP Conflict Minerals 100%
  • STOP Child Labour 100%
  • STOP Child Soldiers 100%

Our Student Ambassadors

Young students from Sirius and Thomas Ferens Academies will present to the Lord Mayor of Hull a resolution, requesting that Hull becomes a Conflict-Free City.

Please click on the + symbol for more information
Overview of the Problem

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Child Slaves, children of 11-12 years of age, are working up to 18 hours per day in dreadful conditions, digging minerals out of the ground, often by hand. These children are not only exploited for working in the mines, they are also conscripted into the rebel army and become child soldiers.

These mines never stop working, 24 hours away, 7 days per week. The children live, eat and sleep at the mine, there is nowhere else for them to go, many of them have lost their family through displacement and armed conflicts.

Unfortunately these mines are treacherous, tunnels collapse, landslides happen because of heavy rain and children are killed and injured every year. In addition to these accidents, the children have to contend with devastating and life threatening, infectious diseases such as cholera, typhoid and malaria.

These conflict minerals are smuggled out of the country, shipped to smelting plants in Asia and then enter the electronic supply chain, to be used in laptops, tablets and mobile phones.

 

Take Action

The good news is that action is already being taken and electronic manufacturers are responding to the problem.

In 2010 in America, the Dodd-Frank Act was passed; this led to far-reaching regulations with regard conflict mineral law. It brought worldwide attention to the problem of conflict minerals and required American electronic companies to be accountable with regard where they sourced their minerals.

However we still have a long way to go, the UK and the European Union do not yet have any agreement in place to prohibit the use of conflict minerals and we are lagging way behind the USA in addressing this problem.

But the consumer can make a difference; they can use their voice and their purchasing power to make these electronic companies move faster.

A project that is gathering momentum in the USA, is that of conflict free cities. Where schools, collages and universities in the USA have pressured council and public officials to declare that their cities will only purchase electronic equipment that is built from conflict free materials.

This campaign is about asking the City of Hull, birth place of William Wilberforce and City of Culture 2017 to follow this course of action and become the first conflict free city in the UK.

Conflict-Free Hull

The concept behind The City of Hull being Conflict-Free is about drawing attention to a very serious worldwide problem that is causing extreme suffering in central Africa. This campaign is being driven by children of 11-12 years of age, because this is the age of many of the child slaves who are being forced to work in the mines of the DRC.

Student ambassadors from Sirius and Thomas Ferens Academy, will on Monday 18th May at 12 noon, present to the Lord Mayor of Hull, in the presence of council officials, local MP’s and heads of business, a resolution asking that Hull becomes the First City in the UK to declare themselves ‘Conflict-Free’.

It is also children of this age who are often the driving force behind the purchase of mobile phones and other electronic devices. The campaign is not about stopping these devices being manufactured, but about making the manufacturers aware through the strength of consumer opinion, that they need to tackle the problem that exists in using minerals and work to clean up their supply chain so that the children of Congo see the benefits of their country’s riches.

This presentation will be the launch of an exciting and enterprising endeavour, that can only gather momentum and media interest. What an accolade it would be for our great city, if they were to pass this resolution. This is an opportunity for Hull to lead the way, to show to the world that Hull, the birth place of William Wilberforce and City of Culture 2017, wants to make a difference, by helping to end this trade in conflict minerals.

We like to believe that we live in a world where through the work of William Wilberforce, that slavery had been abolished, the reality is that contemporary slavery is with us on a daily basis and can be seen first hand in the mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa.

MILLION Laptops Sold in 2014

MILLION Tablets Sold in 2014

BILLION Mobile Phones

We are all now living in one of the most exciting times with regard communication, the worldwide growth of laptops, tablets and mobile phones is quite simply staggering, the number of mobile phones in the world, exceeds the world population. These conflict minerals, mined by children, make these appliances work – Tin that we use as solder, Tungsten, that makes our mobile phones vibrate and Tantalum that is used in batteries to store energy. These are known as the THREE ‘T’s.

CHILD SLAVE LABOUR IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Photo Courtesy of Mark Craemer

Photo Courtesy of Marcus Bleasdale

Photo Courtesy of Mark Craemer

These children live here, eat here, sleep here and children are killed and injured every year.

We would like to express a huge THANK YOU to the following organisations who have

provided us with fabulous support and backed our campaign.

Don’t Be Shy

If you want to find out more about Conflict Minerals and the Campaign to make Hull a Conflict-Free City, then please email me below. If you would like to become one of our sponsors, then I would be pleased to hear from you.

Mike Riley – Campaign Manager

conflictfreehull@gmail.com

“The majority of the people today believe that slavery is an evil of the past. Tragically we know that that is not the truth. It is vital that we continue to build knowledge and public awareness to challenge man’s inhumanity to man”.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

“I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard”.

Malala Yousafzai

“If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large”.

William Wilberforce