In this day and age where we very nonchalantly toss our 'not so up to date' electronic equipment out with the garbage, most of us do not realise at what a price these gadgets come about and how women and children and families and communities and habitats are being destroyed in the relentless search for a metal called coltan which is extracted from columbite tantalum..an ore.. which is mined in, mainly, the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Much of the mining is done illegally and gangs prey on the local communities and try to drive them out of the area where the ore is found.
Sexual violence is used as a weapon and thousands of women and children have been raped and demoralised and have sustained very serious injuries during these rapes which leave them incontinent of urine and faeces.
In 1998 Dr Denis Mukwege founded the Panzi hospital in Bukavu for these rape victims and repairs as best he can the fistulas that form and, in so doing, gives the victims a new chance into the future.
Because computers and mobile phones etc have become part of our daily living, it will be almost impossible to call a ban or boycott on this metal but we can help to bring down the demand if we recycle our equipment instead of relentlessly seeking and buying the very latest models to enhance our yuppy lives!
Dr Denis Mukwege wins Sakharov prize 2014
Coltan: The link between chimpanzees and your cell phone
Taking action against sexual violence in Democratic Republic of Congo..in pictures
Democratic Republic of Congo: History