Congo man petitions Apple to use conflict-free minerals in iPhones by Christmas 2013

“My name is Delly Mawazo Sesete. I am originally from the North Kivu povince in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where a deadly conflict has been raging for over 15 years,” Delly Mawazo Sesete writes for The Guardian.

“Near the area where I grew up, there are mines with vast amounts of tungsten, tantalum, tin, and gold – minerals that make most consumer electronics in the world function,” Sesete writes. “These minerals are part of your daily life. They keep your computer running so you can surf the internet. They save your high score on your Playstation. They make your cell phone vibrate when someone calls you.”

Sesete writes, “While minerals from the Congo have enriched your life, they have often brought violence, rape and instability to my home country. That’s because those armed groups fighting for control of these mineral resources use murder, extortion and mass rape as a deliberate strategy to intimidate and control local populations, which helps them secure control of mines, trading routes and other strategic areas.”

“That’s why I’m asking Apple to make an iPhone made with conflict-free minerals from the Congo by this time next year,” Sesete writes. “Apple is perfectly positioned to be the first company to create a Congo conflict-free phone, using minerals from Congo that further stability and economic development and don’t use slave labor or fund mass atrocities… That’s why I launched a campaign on Change.org asking Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, to commit to making an iPhone with conflict-free minerals from the Congo by Christmas 2013.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Wait, is the deadline “by this time next year” or is it “by Christmas 2013?”

Okay, we checked the petition (which, of course, makes no mention of PlayStation-maker Sony or any other company other than Apple Inc.) and it says “by the 2013 holiday season.”

Regardless of the Apple coattailery, we can’t think of a good reason to condone the use of conflict minerals. If Apple can’t lead the way here, who can?

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

21 Comments

  1. But if Apple started to use other materials from the Congo which are now conflict-free, wouldn’t the warring sides start fighting over them and they would then becom new conflict materials. Presumably the only reason any materials are now conflict-free is because there is no market fo them.

  2. good lord come on…the problem isn’t with the minerals it’s with the ignorant jackasses who are killing each other. Hell, the minerals are about the only thing the Congo has going for it and this bonehead wants to eff that up too. GET REAL & JOIN CIVILIZATION, jeez this pisses me off to no end.

  3. botvinik,

    You often contribute interesting and entertaining content, but I have to say, this contribution seems to indicate you know little on the issue.

    Minerals in Congo are mined through most brutal exploitation, extortion, murder, rape and similar violence. When you buy such minerals, you sustain such practices. Those who control the mines are brutal thugs who have no value for the lives of those they’re exploiting. There are mineral mines throughout the African continent (as well as elsewhere in the world), where the process of mining is much like in coal mines of Virginia — miners work for a (relatively) decent wage, in (relatively) decent security, with (relatively) decent working hours, and nobody is murdered, mutilated, tortured or raped on order to be intimidated into slave mine labour.

    Apple will most certainly go to great lengths in exploring the possibility of obtaining the necessary raw materiel from sources that show universally acceptable labour practices. In some cases, this may be difficult, but as we all know, if anyone out there is aware, conscious and responsible when it comes to fair treatment of work force, it is Apple.

    As for “coat-tailing” on Apple, if you were to pick any one company as an example in your struggle for conflict-free mineral resourcing, wouldn’t YOU pick the biggest, strongest, most powerful one of them all?

    1. …then fix the fscking government in the Congo…the minerals are an asset; the extortion, rape and violence are the liabilities. Jesus, it’s like blaming silicon for child pornography on the internet.

        1. every nation that truly wants to live in freedom finds a way. Whether it’s the United States in 1776 or the French Revolution of 1789…The Congo needs to find their own Lech Walesa; boycotting their natural resources, presently their only asset, will have no bearing on what has to emanate from within the Congolese people.

  4. Hello, my name is Adiwale Sesikindo Milengi, prince of the province of Adubinle in Nigeria. I have $500,000,000 trapped in my account by the Nigerian Treasury that I need to liberate. Would you be so kind as to deposit the sum of $300,000 into my account maintained with the Bank of Africa, Congo branch and I will ensure that 80% of the proceeds of my liberated account go to you.

  5. Whenever I read the comments here mocking and insulting people from the 3rd world and their situation, who are suffering for our benefit, I can only think back to the interview Conan did with Louis CK about spoiled, arrogant, demanding technology has made us in the 1st world.

    Kudos to the Congolese man. I hope Apple steps up to this challenge.

    1. Screw you Wil you ahole. They are doing nothing to benefit us. They just happen to be there. They don’t want to help us in any way at all. Get China and Russia and EU to go into the Congo and save them for once. You liberals are on an all out hell bent mission to destroy the US. Sick.

  6. Apple is a business. Not a charity. Petition the seedy government, thats what I suggest. Apple goes beyond any of todays current standards for electronics manufactured. Apple is pretty green.
    So why not petition GE and other major players. Or walmart that only cares amount the lowest bidder for higher profit margins which only benefit the Chinese, and does not help America in anyway except for job losses etc.
    Its good to help others, but at some point you have to say NO and help those locally.

  7. While it would be nice if people did not fight over anything valuable, and Apple is a business, you are missing the point. Some of these rare minerals are used in electronic components. Virtually everything that uses capacitors or resistors. There is no reason to pick on Apple, as opposed to companies that make TVs or toasters, except for the publicity.

  8. Every car, truck, motor cycle, 18 wheeler, diesel train, airplane, helicopter, pleasure boat, ferry and commercial ship runs on fuel made with a large portion of Conflict Oil.

    I think we should fix that first.

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