File 01 - Defining Conflict Minerals

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We must begin to address the issue of conflict minerals by defining what they are. The first and simplest definition we can give is that conflict minerals are those linked to a conflict or human rights abuses and violations.


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There was a shift in geopolitics following World War II and the fall of the Berlin wall and the Eastern bloc, with the access and control of natural resources emerging as a major cause of conflict.

According to “From Conflict to Peacebuilding: The Role of Natural Resources and the Environment” (UNDP, 2009), since 1990 at least eighteen violent conflicts have been fuelled by the exploitation of natural resources, with at least 40% of all intrastate conflicts linked to this same cause.

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