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RAID Public Version Report June 2004

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is emerging form a devastating five-year war that is estimated to have cost the lives of more than three million people. Multinational corporations have been accused of helping to perpetuate the war and of profiteering from it. In a series of reports documenting the links between business, resource exploitation and conflict in the DRC, a UN Panel of experts listed companies considered to be in violation of international norms such as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Corporations. The UN reports raised the expectation that governments would hold to account those companies that were responsible for misconduct in the DRC. To date, there have been few signs of a response.

The furore created by the Panel’s reports have heightened the need to distinguish between culpable multinational enterprises and those who acted responsibly in the DRC. Yet, the Panel’s final report failed to establish this distinction with rigour and clarity. Many unanswered questions remain about the allegations against companies. This raises concerns about how corporations should conduct business in zones of conflict and whether their behaviour ought to be regulated.

The report of Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID) examines the role of companies in DRC conflict, their reactions to being listed by the UN Panel and the publicity unanswered questions that remain about their conduct. It frames the questions in relation to the OECD Guidelines. Governments adhering to the Guidelines have responsibility to ensure that they are applied. It is in nobody’s interest – neither that of responsible companies, nor that of the people of the DRC – to leave these questions unresolved. This report should act as catalyst for actions for governments.
Type Report
Date May 2004
Theme Guidelines and regulation
Responsible organisation Rights and Accountability in Development

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