Natural Resource Extraction and Human Rights-Based Abuses in Africa
Africa is extremely rich in natural resources. For hundreds of years, there was trade in gold between modern-day Ghana and North Africa, and even further afield. Africa’s wealth, including humans and nature, attracted the attention of a globally expanding Europe, which intruded into the continent to enslave people for the sake of sugar and cotton plantations in the Americas, and finally sealed its control with the scramble for Africa in the 1880s.
The Belgian king Leopold gained the modern-day DRC as a personal fiefdom. All manner of severe human rights abuses were heaped on the people of the Congo in the interests of rubber extraction. In South Africa wars were fought over gold and diamonds until the mineral wealth came under British control and local people lost their land and subsoil resources to a settler colony.