Melinda Kerr

Melbourne, Australia

G’day all, my name is Melinda but my mates call me Mel, so feel free. I live by the beach in Elwood, Victoria, Australia. I...

Calling all Americans with heart and Australians

I know you’re out there.
Some of you may know of the emergency situation happening in Eastern Congo right now. The town I was in last year is under seige and so are people I know and love. I know it’s such a downer to hear these things but I have to be an advocate.
The fight is over minerals – you may have seen the movie "Blood Diamond?’ . Well this is very accurate but just replace Diamonds with Coltan-the mineral used in mobile phones and some computers. Following is an email from the head of HEAL Africa I received 10 minutes ago. Then there’s a letter our American friends can copy to send to their congressman and US companies such as DELL/Apple/ Hewlett Packard. Please please please…

Dear friends,

Please be reassured for all of us. We have woken up safely. After a night of shooting in the town, all is quiet, and Jo and I and about half the staff are at the hospital. CNDP are outside the town, and they do not want to engage the MONUC – that would be a major diplomatic faux pas. So probably the wisest thing the Congolese army could do was to run away. The shops are mostly intact, thanks to the police patrolling the main streets. Some of the military are coming back into town.

The casualties are many, especially from the populated areas, where most of the looting occurred in private houses. One family near ULPGL lost seven children. The bandits were also out in force, including the ones that come over from Gisenyi

Pray for the family of Mrs Esanga and her family. They are all here in the hospital. All four children were seriously injured and the mother was tortured. They put a grenade under the mattress of the six-year old, where he was sleeping. I went into surgery while Jo and Kimona were repairing the older brother, putting his liver and intestines back. We pray he will survive. Such cruelty is incomprehensible. It has nothing to do with war; it is banditry and terrorism.

Saturday, I am supposed to go to RSA with Dr Likofata and Dr Bitwe for the research training. We will decide on that one tomorrow, after seeing how we get through this night.

With best wishes.

LL

The letter for your Congressman and US companies…

I am writing to ask you for reassurance that none of the coltan used in your products comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo. As I am sure you are aware, conflict has resumed in northeast Democratic Republic of Congo, a conflict that is fueled by the lust for the Congo’s riches, including Coltan. Over 80% of the known reserves of coltan is found in NE DRC, but the coltan being exported is more often than not blood coltan. Much of the coltan finds its way to the US via Rwanda after it has been extracted by men, women and children terrorized by beatings, killings and rape at the hands of soldiers, rebels and militias who trade coltan for funds and weapons to further the conflict. The problem of blood coltan is so grave that the U.S. Senate recently passed the Conflict Coltan and Cassiterite Act of 2008 (SB 3058). Similar to the legislation banning importation of blood diamonds, SB 3058 will require that coltan be certified as conflict free before being imported.

Please advise me
1) where does your company obtain it coltan? You cannot rely upon shipping documents that indicate someplace in Europe, Asia, or even Rwanda. Most Coltan comes from the DRC.

2) What assurance do you have that your suppliers of coltan have not obtained it from the DRC?

3) Have you even asked your suppliers to reveal the original source of the coltan you have purchased?

4) What is your position on the Coltan and Cassiterite Act of 2008 (SB 3058), now pending in the House of Representatives?

5) What steps are you willing to take to assure that your coltan is conflict free?

Your web site suggests that you are a socially responsible company. Please carry out that representation by taking steps to make sure that the coltan in your products is conflict free and by instructing your lobbyists to push for passage of SB 3058 in the house of representatives.

Very truly yours,


-

Sent to the following people:

Rosemarie Thomas
Secretary to the Board of Directors
Hewlett Packard Company
3000 Hanover Street, MS 1050
Palo Alto, CA 94304
e-mail: bod@hp.com

Steve Jobs, CEO
Apple Computer Company
c/o Katie Cotton, Vice President, World Wide Corp. Communications
katiec@applec.com

Michael S. Dell
Chairman of the Board and CEO
Dell Corporation
Board_of_Directors@Dell.com

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