Category Archives: RPAN

Les Ressources Naturelles – enjeux et perspectives d’action pour la paix et le développement

This article was posted in RPAN.
image: Justice&Paix

image: Justice&Paix

Formation proposée par le réseau Belge ressources naturelles

Vendredi 9 septembre 2011, de 9 à 17h
Bruxelles (CNAPD)
51, chaussée d’Haecht, 1210 Bruxelles
En français et en néerlandais (traduction simultanée).
Inscription nécessaire avant le 5 septembre: info ou 02/640.52.62 Continue reading

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“Minerais du conflit” en RDC

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image: EurAc and FT

image: EurAc and FT

EURAC et Fatal Transaction demandent à l’UE de renforcer son engagement sur la question des “minerais du conflit” en RDC

En juillet 2010, le Congrès des Etats-Unis a adopté la loi Dodd Frank qui comporte des dispositions relatives aux « minerais du conflit » provenant de la région des Grands Lacs. Cette loi est entrée en vigueur 10 ans après que le conseil de Sécurité de l’ONU ait exprimé pour la première fois sa préoccupation sur le lien entre l’exploitation minière et le conflit en République Démocratique du Congo (RDC). Pendant cette période, plusieurs rapports du groupe d’experts de l’ONU sur la RDC et de nombreuses ONG ont explicité l’impact des ressources naturelles sur le conflit à l’est de la RDC.

Divers groupes armés, y compris l’armée nationale (FARDC), continuent de contrôler l’exploitation et le commerce des minerais – à savoir la cassitérite, le wolframite, le coltan et l’or – dans certaines régions du Kivu, Maniema, Katanga et de la province orientale, avec la complicité de pays voisins ainsi que celle de nombreux acteurs économiques à travers le monde. Cette dynamique, qui s’étend au-delà des frontières de la RDC, complexifie les efforts menés pour la consolidation de la paix ainsi que ceux mis en œuvre pour la réforme du secteur de la sécurité dans l’est du pays. Continue reading

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Conference sur le secteur minier en RdC

This article was posted in RPAN.
Ferdinand Muhigirwa

Ferdinand Muhigirwa - image: Emmanuelle Devuyst

S’est tenu, ce lundi 20 septembre, une conférence à l’OCIPE sur le thème du secteur minier en République Démocratique du Congo (ci-après RDC). Celle-ci s’inscrivait dans le cadre du projet “Relational Peace Advocacy network” qui vise à promouvoir la responsabilité sociétale des entreprises extractives œuvrant dans les pays en voie de développement.

Nous profitions de la présence de notre partenaire congolais, le Père Ferdinand Muhigirwa SJ, directeur du CEPAS à Kinshasa, et d’un collègue, Jean-Pierre Kabulu Djibu, coordinateur d’”Agir en Chrétiens Informés-RDC” pour inviter nos partenaires politiques, des compagnies et de la société civile à venir débattre des enjeux du secteur minier au Congo. Continue reading

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Table-ronde madrilène

This article was posted in RPAN.

Table ronde

Table ronde

Table-ronde madrilène sur la responsabilité sociétale des entreprises minières au Congo

L’OCIPE organise, dans le cadre du projet Relational Peace Advocacy Network et avec l’université jésuite COMILLAS, une table-ronde à l’occasion de la présidence espagnole de l’Union Européenne. Celle-ci aura lieu le 18 mai à Madrid après la projection du documentaire de Thierry Michel “Katanga Business” qui illustre bien la complexité des enjeux du secteur extractif en République démocratique du Congo. Continue reading

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Natural Resources – Recommendations

This article was posted in RPAN.

EP hearing

EP hearing

Natural Resources Curse in Central Africa: Can the EU Contribute to Fairer Economic Relations?
Recommendations to the European Parliament

A. In order for natural resources to be managed in a transparent and sustainable manner

The EU should include transparency, good governance, and the principle of free and prior informed consent by local populations in EU policies and legal agreements vis-à-vis resource-rich countries (such as the Cotonou agreement, trade and investment agreements, Country Strategy Papers, National Indicative Programmes, or Corporate Social Responsibility, etc).
Specifically, the EU should also strongly encourage EITI membership of partner countries, EU Member States, as well as all European extractive companies. Continue reading

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Public Hearing on Business & Human Rights

This article was posted in RPAN.

Parliamentary hearing

Parliamentary hearing

Input to the Public Hearing on Business & Human Rights of the Parliamentary Commitee on Human Rights, April 16th 2009.

All organizations listed below want to stop the injustice related to business activities in developing countries. European based and/or listed companies must be hold accountable by the European Institutions for human rights abuses committed in the areas of operation. The ECCJ (European Coalition for Corporate Justice) provides legal proposals to tackle this very issue. JEO, CAFOD, IPIS, Fatal Transactions and Global Witness focus on business activities of mining corporations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and collect evidence that due to a lack of European legislation, corporate abuse against local people in mining areas continues.

Download the paper: PDF

Take a look at the photo gallery: click

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Parliamentary Question

This article was posted in RPAN.

Parliamentary Question
Exploitation of natural resources in DRC

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Jesuit Voices

This article was posted in RPAN.
Jesuit Voices

Jesuit Voices

Jesuit Voices

Interview with Fr. Elias Omondi about the work of the Jesuit Hakimani Centre

“Hakimani” is a name that combines the Swahili words, ‘haki’ (justice) and ‘mani’ (faith). The Jesuit Hakimani Center’s mission is to promote a faith that seeks justice, especially through the use of conflict resolution techniques that have their roots in the Jesuit retreat method known as the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Fr. Omondi is the director of the centre located in Nairobi, Kenya, in the heart of an area with a long history of war, refugees and conflicts that endure even after the fighting ends. Conflict resolution offers people caught up in these problems a way to transform their lives.

Listen to the podcast here.

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Advocacy

This article was posted in RPAN.

One of the formative influences of the RPAN project is work done at the University of Leuven on the theme of ‘qualified advocacy’. Here are two explorations of this theme by Elias Lopez SJ: one focusing on advocacy at the institutions of the European Union, the other reflecting on synergies among Jesuit social apostolates.

Download text by Elias Lopez: PDF

Download text on Jesuit Social Apostolates: PDF

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RPAN: Where We Are Today

This article was posted in RPAN.

RPAN Update

The current situation in the Congo is one of hope.  With the first democratic elections in over forty years, people smell change in the air.  The question still remains though: how to address justice for crimes of the past?  The vast, mostly illegal, exploitation of natural resources, including coltan, tin ore, gold, diamonds and copper and cobalt, among others, during the years of the war funded both various militia and rebel groups and various governments’ troops .  There existed corruption, extensive damage to the environment and human rights violations.

However, what are the existing possibilities for addressing past wrongs and finding justice for foreign actors in the conflict in the Congo, who are based in Europe?  In 1999 the European Parliament adopted a resolution on EU Standards for European Enterprises Operating in Developing Countries , in which it asked the European Commission and the European Council to establish legally binding standards  with extra-territorial effect, for European transnational corporations in order to ensure that they comply with international law  as well as the OECD Guidelines  and the ILO Declaration . These standards refer to those developed by other existing international bodies such as the World Bank, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the 1994 draft UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

The Parliament has also proposed in their resolution in response to the Commission’s communication on conflict prevention that “the harmful influence which certain private and public undertakings have in unstable regions should be acknowledged by creating a legally binding framework with sanctions for companies which contribute to conflicts in unstable regions”.   They have also emphasized the importance in engaging corporate social responsibility “in order to arrive at a concept of binding and accountable rules for EU companies trading and producing in third countries in accordance with human rights and ILO standards”, in their report  on trade and poverty.

Until now, the European Commission has taken no action. There are voluntary guidelines, but, crucially, no legally binding framework.

If we look at the response to the UN Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo reports over the years, we can easily be disappointed.  Set up as a reporting body, the Panel of Experts had no follow-up powers themselves.  The OECD was handed the task for implementation on the recommendations of the Panel but at best had the quasi-jurisdictional National Contact Points (NCPs) to refer to.

OECD guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

According to one leading Professor on international law, human rights, and multinationals, the NCPs “view their role as one of mediation, of encouraging good practice, of observing the confidentiality of commercial information so as not to endanger co-operation with companies”, whereas “others, especially NGOs, have called for them to develop their role more as arbitrators and not mediators”.  The main challenges faced by the NCPs, not only for cases referred from the Congo investigation, but in general, include:

  • Access: firstly, the NCPs are located in the industrialized capitals of OECD countries and secondly, many have restricted access for NGOs
  • Success rate: Processes get stuck for years within the NCPs, with no evidence of progress.
  • Roadblocks: in the United States there exists reluctance towards a liberal reading and application of the guidelines, especially of the most recent OECD interpretation of the guidelines’ applicability in conflict zones.  With regards to the Congo, there has been a softened reading of the guidelines in which an additional requirement of an “investment nexus”  has hindered their applicability.

Strengthening Legal Frameworks and Developing Legal Tools

Some NGOs believe that working to influence on the OECD guidelines and the functioning of the NCPs is a diversion from true accountability, which can only come from developing legal tools.  Yet, according to the European Commission’s directorate general Enterprise, corporate social responsibility is “a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis”.  This definition emphasizes CSR as a voluntary concept.  Seeing that the European Commission has until now, taken no action on these issues, what are the possibilities for developing legal tools and strengthening existing frameworks?

One major challenge is that no single country wants to act alone on these issues, as they would be putting their own companies at a severe competitive disadvantage.  An uncompromising stance would simply drive companies to relocate to within a more tolerant jurisdiction, which means that a solution can only be found at a European level through a unified approach to extraterritorial legislation for human rights abuse and financial crimes.  There does exist an upcoming framework decision to harmonise legislation on extraterritorial crimes across the EU which would help the twenty-five member states to implement such legislation, and which would affect all companies having assets within the EU in the same way whether or not they are incorporated here.

Concluding Remarks

While building a network for peace advocacy on the problem of natural resource exploitation within the Congo, we are aware that the question of what can be done from a European perspective can be seen through at least three lenses:

  • The possibility of improving the working of non-jurisdictional bodies such as the National Contact Points of the OECD
  • The existing legal possibilities for crimes committed in the Congo during and after the war in relation to the exploitation of natural resources
  • And the development of stronger legal tools in the future for extraterritorial legislation

Each issue is equally important, and advocacy is required in order to improve each in order to continue the search for justice and to allow preventative measures to exist for future cases both within and outside of the Congo.

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