Last week, the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law and the Center for Media and Social Impact opened their sixteenth annual Human Rights Film Series with When Elephants Fight, a documentary that dissects the conflict in the Congo, as well as the role of the U.S government and foreign corporations in the prolonging of western domination of the Congo’s mineral resources.
Since 2009, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has suffered from a loss of over 5 billion dollars in corrupt and opaque mining contracts with West. The result of these contracts has created an international infrastructure within the Congo that preys on vulnerable populations and corrupt and mismanaged government.
The film, directed by Mike Ramsdell works as part of the #StandWithCongo campaign to raise awareness on the issue and push policy to place responsibility on foreign governments and corporations that profit from the violence and human rights abuses in Congo, which have heightened tremendously since the start of the Second Congo War in 1998.
After the documentary, there was a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Rebecca DeWinter-Schmitt, Director of the Human Rights and Business program at the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law. The panel included Campaign Manager JD Stier, Jeanne Hruska, Advisor to the U.S. Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region and Dr. Omekongo Dibinga who is a Professional Lecturer at the School of International Service.
The #StandWithCongo campaign and the film, When Elephants Fight combine the power of filmmaking with activism. The collaboration encourages student participation in discussions about the Congo. The #StandWithCongo campaign takes a different approach to fundraising and invites anyone interested to joint the campaign, host a screening event, or reach out directly to campaign partners and collaborators based within the country.
To learn more about how to get involved with the #StandWithCongo campaign, visit http://standwithcongo.org To learn more about the film and future screenings, please see http://www.whenelephantsfight.com.
The Human Rights Film Series will continue throughout the month of October, with screenings every Wednesday, starting at 7 PM.