The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the second largest country in Africa, with immensely rich natural resources, including the mineral Coltan which is vital for the manufacture of our smartphones and electronic devices. The DRC holds between 60 and 80% of the world reserves of Coltan. Since 1998, Coltan has been at the heart of the DRC war, one of the deadliest conflicts since the Second World War, with more than 6 million deaths;
The UN estimates that there are 3.7 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country;
There are 1.9 million children suffering from malnutrition; child labour is used in mining operations and child soldiers are used in armed conflict;
The use of sexual violence is widespread and used as a weapon of war;
Forty mass graves have recently been discovered in the Kasai region; Moreover, after a number of protests against the government, which shook the capital Kinshasa in early 2015, a mass grave containing 421 bodies was discovered in April 2015;
The postponement of the presidential elections has led to an exacerbation of political violence and instability.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to exert diplomatic pressure on the DRC to end violence and human rights abuses and to ensure timely, free, fair and transparent elections.
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