Eastern Congo

Dodd-Frank 1502: Impact Update

Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank 1502) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Conflict Minerals Rule have improved global minerals supply chain transparency and begun to help break links between the minerals trade and violent conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo).

Rubaya Town.  Holly Dranginis / Enough Project

Experts Laud Initiatives by Ban Ki-moon at Kinshasa Responsible Investment Conference

Date: 
Feb 24, 2016

UN Chief’s support for cross-border responsible trade “innovative and important” 

February 24, 2016 (Kinshasa and Washington, DC) – The Enough Project lauded remarks today by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the opening session of the Great Lakes Private Sector Investment Conference in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Sasha Lezhnev, Associate Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “Ban's initiative to spur cross-border responsible investment in the Great Lakes region is innovative and important. Economics are a critical yet neglected element of peacebuilding, and the UN, U.S., and multinational companies should work to help ensure that new investments in the Great Lakes are fully transparent and benefit local communities.”

Holly Dranginis, Senior Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, said:  “The illicit natural resource trades that have helped fuel violence in this in this region require coercive responses like criminal accountability, but they should also be displaced by positive, responsible trade. Ban's leadership this week sends a strong signal that it's high time Congo's resources are used to the benefit of the nation as a whole, no longer an elite few.”

Yesterday, the Enough Project released its newest report “POINT OF ORIGIN: Status Report on the Impact of Dodd-Frank 1502 in Congo,” documenting local views on initiatives to increase security and transparency in eastern Congo’s mining trade, including the U.S. Dodd-Frank section 1502 “conflict minerals” regulations.

The in-depth report cites a growing roster of verified “conflict-free” mines, a decrease of resources going to armed groups, a reduction in cross-border militia support from neighboring countries, and a burgeoning sense of local security and hope among citizens and local leaders in some mining communities freed from control of violent militias. The report also details collateral problems associated with reforms that remain to be addressed, including high level corruption and limited alternative livelihoods for artisanal miners.

Press release and overview of ”Point of Origin” reporthttp://eno.ug/1OsmxuI

Link to full report: http://eno.ug/1SGjyqu

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact:
Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org

As UN Chief Comes to Congo, New Report Tracks Efforts to Dismantle Resource Curse

Date: 
Feb 23, 2016

“Point of Origin” report published today documents local views on impact of USA Dodd-Frank 1502 Law and reform efforts in Congo’s mining trade: “Recent progress should galvanize policymakers to strengthen 1502's enforcement”

As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrives today in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Enough Project released an in-depth status report on initiatives to increase security and transparency in eastern Congo’s mining trade, including the highly contentious Dodd-Frank section 1502 “conflict minerals” regulations.

The report, “Point of Origin: Status Report on the Impact of Dodd-Frank 1502 in Congo” by Senior Policy Analyst Holly Dranginis, documents from a local perspective a range of positive outcomes from the reforms. The report cites a growing roster of verified “conflict-free” mines, a decrease of resources going to armed groups, a reduction in cross-border militia support from neighboring countries, and a burgeoning sense of local security and hope among citizens and local leaders in some mining communities freed from control of violent militias. The report also details collateral problems associated with reforms that remain to be addressed, including high level corruption and limited alternative livelihoods for artisanal miners.

The UN chief’s visit is expected to include a trip to Goma, in the heart of Congo’s resource-rich mining region beset with conflict since 1996.

Among its findings, “Point of Origin” offers policy recommendations to reduce smuggling in Congo and neighboring countries. In response, the Enough Project calls for military prosecutors in Congo and neighboring jurisdictions to develop comprehensive strategies for prosecuting high-level offenders.  Nine key recommendations are presented to further bolster local security, employment, community welfare, and rule of law. 

Holly Dranginis, report author and Senior Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, said: “This movement began in Congo, with activists who are still on the front lines demanding an end to violence and secrecy in their mining sector. Dodd-Frank 1502 is not a panacea - it is one component of a critical shift toward rule of law, and transparency. What's urgent now is to use pressure and accountability to eradicate the flaws in the system that allow for continued violence, corruption, and economic disparity.”

Dominique Bikaba, Executive Director of Strong Roots, a Bukavu-based advocacy organization said: “Our work in eastern Congo pushing for transparency and security in the mining sector is finally bearing fruit. Rebuilding the economy can be done. The thing that seemed impossible was establishing security — and Dodd-Frank 1502 helped us with that. The work is far from over, but recent progress should galvanize policymakers to strengthen 1502's enforcement.”

John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project, said: “Congo's leaders have exploited the minerals sector for their personal benefit for far too long, to the grave detriment of the general population, especially in the east. This pattern of criminality extends far beyond Congo's borders, throughout the supply chain. Dodd-Frank is one of a range of tools to revolutionize the way civil society and policymakers address these patterns. As we've heard from activists in Congo: the status quo wasn't working.”

The “Point of Origin” report is based on 2015 and 2016 field research in eastern Congo with miners, traders, human rights activists, civil society leaders, industry experts, and complemented by expert research conducted by groups like the United Nations Group of Experts and the International Peace Information Service (IPIS).

Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Conflict Minerals Rule, along with new regional reforms, have improved global minerals supply chain transparency and begun to help break links between the minerals trade and violent conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the report.

Link to full “Point of Origin” report: http://eno.ug/1SGjyqu

Images for media use (Photo credit: Holly Dranginis / Enough Project): http://eno.ug/POflickr

Narrative dispatch with images – “Boom Town:  What happened when Wall Street reform came to Congo’s frontier mining towns”: http://eno.ug/1LrzPHT

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact:
Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org

SELECTED REPORT EXCERPTS:
  • REGIONAL REFORM: For the first time, regulation of the region’s 3TG (tungsten, tantalum, tin and gold) mining sector and global minerals supply chain is developing, spurred in part by enforcement of Dodd-Frank Section 1502 and the SEC’s Conflict Minerals Rule.
  • ARMED GROUPS:
    • Civil society activists who monitor the minerals trade in North and South Kivu, interviewed for the report, provide local witness that armed groups are not nearly as prevalent at 3T mines as they were five and 10 years ago. 
    • Armed group control over tin, tantalum, and tungsten mines has decreased in many parts of eastern Congo, and calm has been restored to some communities that once lived under repressive, violent, and unpredictable rebel regimes.
    • Since the 2013 defeat of M23, a group that controlled minerals-rich territories and drew funding from minerals smuggling rings, there has been no major Rwandan-backed rebel group active in eastern Congo.
    • The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), an armed rebel group which has drawn significant resources from illegal mining in the eastern provinces, has diminished significantly in troop strength over the past six years. 
    • Defections by armed group combatants in North Kivu doubled between 2014 and 2015, with FDLR soldiers among the highest.  
  • LOCAL VOICES: Local leaders, citizens and miners in Goma, Bukavu, and Rubaya have observed a significant shift from the worst times of armed group control.
    • Gerver Hakizimana, a civil society leader in Rubaya, told Enough, “There have been a lot of armed groups who have taken this town – people would go into hiding or live in the mountains. The groups would force people to work, and recruit children. Now, no more armed groups. Now the mining police control and secure the mines. People are working in an organized way.” 
    • In South Kivu, Lubula Igomokelo, an assistant director at Panzi Foundation which works with survivors of sexual violence, told Enough, “The link between minerals and violence was something that became obvious, in a sense. The [sexual violence] victims were all coming in for treatment from areas with very active mining.”
    • Justine Masika Bihamba of Women’s Synergy for Sexual Violence Victims, based in Goma told Enough, “Before, mining was almost fully controlled by armed groups…Today, let’s admit they shy away from doing that. And if we’re honest, part of that is because of Dodd-Frank. It came to shine a light on those illicit actors...” 
    • Ayuby Andrea, a food trader in Rubaya, agreed: “Things are coming back slowly with security in Rubaya. Mining is going on today. It has been very peaceful here now.”  Previously, he described, “The armed groups would pillage, they’d grab our belongings and flee into the forest. We fled to the camps from Masisi. Back in 2007, I stayed in the camps for three years,” recounting, “It was pretty bad – we slept like beasts, we hardly ate. Fear was permanent. And killings became normal.” 
    • Justine Masika Bihamba: “There’s a link between traceability and the well-being of communities – we’ll know how many minerals are going out, how much value, volume, and how much, theoretically, should trickle down to communities.”
    • Congolese citizens, residents, and diaspora have had substantial and essential roles in establishment of the SEC’s Conflict Minerals Rule, the Congressional hearings on Dodd-Frank 1502 in 2012, 2013 and 2015, respectively, and the implementation of in-region minerals reform measures. 
  • SECURITY STILL AT RISK:
    • Recent events in Rubaya illustrate the potential for conflict-free mining areas to backslide into armed violence if oversight and enforcement mechanisms are weak in unstable parts of eastern Congo.
    • Despite significant security gains in 3T mining areas, armed group activity and some factions of the Congolese army continue to pose threats in several mining areas of eastern Congo, especially at gold mines. Illicit gold mining and illegal taxation continue to provide financing to Congolese army commanders, armed groups, and criminal networks in the region.
    • Violence perpetrated by armed groups and the army has consistently included sexual and gender-based violence, especially rape. Efforts to improve security in mining areas must include measures to protect and provide legal and health services to women and girls, even where armed groups are not present. Reports of sexual assault or micro-economic systems reliant on transactional sex that make women extremely vulnerable are common in eastern Congo’s mining areas, even in civilian-controlled areas.
  • CONGO’S NEIGHBORS: Neighboring countries have provided a market for those minerals and impunity for perpetrators of related fraud, forced labor, and other crimes. The role of Congo’s neighbors in these illicit systems remains pivotal.
  • CONGO’S ARMY: Involvement of army soldiers in smuggling, coupled with scarce resources for monitoring and law enforcement, has encouraged impunity for smuggling minerals from non-validated sites into legitimate pipelines.

REPORT RECOMMENDATIONS: The Enough Project report details 9 key recommendations to ensure that Dodd-Frank 1502 and related reforms are fully implemented to the benefit of Congolese citizens and the region’s formal mining sector:

  1. Combating smuggling
  2. Improving Security
  3. Enforcing Sanctions and Prosecuting Serious Crimes
  4. Holding Regional Actors Accountable
  5. Improving Artisanal Mining
  6. Requiring Quality Due Diligence
  7. Increasing In-Region Sourcing
  8. Improving Livelihoods
  9. Increasing Protection for Activists

 

CONTEXT:

Over the past 15 years, a severe lack of regulation and accountability in the Africa’s Great Lakes regional mining sector has helped lead to a dynamic in which armed actors systematically gain territorial control and wealth through the use of violence with impunity. Until recently, most of the minerals in this illegal system entered the global supply chain unchecked, often ending up in retail products like electronics, jewelry, appliances, and motor vehicles.

Eastern Congo has suffered decades-long armed conflict funded in large part by the illicit mining, trading, and sales of valuable minerals. Decades of violence, weak rule of law, and the hijacking of state structures by powerful elites prevented the emergence of transparent, legal mining sectors in the Great Lakes region. The resulting links between violence and consumer products have inspired consumer, investor, and advocacy pressure for reforms, which helped lead to Dodd-Frank 1502, E.U. draft legislation related to responsible minerals sourcing, and in-region reforms including a regional minerals certification system.

In the tantalum-rich town of Rubaya in North Kivu, where Enough conducted field interviews in July, residents still remember a revolving door of armed groups and the fear and violence associated with their control. Miners, traders, and civil society leaders Enough spoke to in Rubaya all recalled violence between five and 10 years ago including fighting and abuses by armed groups like CNDP, M23, Mai Mai, FDLR and the Congolese army.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT

The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org

New Report - Point of Origin: Status Report on the Impact of Dodd-Frank 1502 in Congo

Photo: Erberto Zani / www.erbertozani.com

In a new Enough Project report based on 2015 and 2016 field research in eastern Congo, Senior Policy Analyst Holly Dranginis provides a status update on the impact of Dodd-Frank 1502 in Congo, including progress, challenges, and policy recommendations for continued improvements.  Read More »

Point of Origin - Status Report on the Impact of Dodd-Frank 1502 in Congo

Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank 1502) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Conflict Minerals Rule have improved global minerals supply chain transparency and begun to help break links between the minerals trade and violent conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. For nearly two decades, illicit mining and minerals trafficking – primarily in tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold (“3TG”) – have provided significant financing to a range of armed groups as well as corrupt and abusive elements of the Congolese army.

Boom Town: What happened when Wall Street reform came to Congo’s frontier mining towns

Rubaya town, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo: Holly Dranginis / Enough P

On February 11, Enough published a new piece on the impact Dodd-Frank Section 1502 has had on some of Congo's mining communities, based on field interviews from a recent trip to eastern Congo.  Read More »

Sen. Markey urges strong U.S. policy, including targeted sanctions, in support of timely, free, and fair Congolese Elections

On Thursday, February 4, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, expressing deep concern over, and urging strong action in response to, delayed Presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo).  Read More »

Student Leads Wisconsin School District to Go “Conflict-Free” as International Movement Gathers Steam in 2015

Date: 
Dec 17, 2015

From high schools and college campuses to cities and states, the “Conflict-Free” movement continued to expand this year.

Spurred by the activism of a high school student, the latest resolution by a Wisconsin school district adds another victory in an international campaign working to ensure that laptops, cell phones, and other popular consumer products are not connected to killing, child abductions, or sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Most recently, Ellen Bresnick, a high school junior, led efforts spurring her Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District to unanimously adopt a resolution calling on electronics and other industries to take the necessary due diligence measures to ensure that the minerals in their products contribute to peace and sustainable livelihoods in the DRC.

Earlier this year, activists and policymakers celebrated the Portland City Council’s vote to enact a conflict-free policy for the city. Portland’s new policy affects cellular devices and other key communication equipment purchased by the city. 

Including the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, 20 school institutions have passed resolutions that call on companies to source conflict-free minerals from the DRC for their products. The public school district based in Dane County, Wisconsin, represents six elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school, and one alternative senior high school.

More details:

  • By encouraging university officials and stakeholders, both of whom are large purchasers of electronics and powerful spokespersons, to commit to measures that pressure electronics companies to responsibly invest in Congo's minerals sector, students from the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative (CFCI) are voicing the demand for conflict-free products from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
  • Students from 175 schools in the U.S. and internationally have participated in CFCI
  • Five U.S. cities and one U.K. city have passed conflict-free procurement resolutions
  • Two U.S. states (CA & MD) have passed conflict-free procurement resolutions
  • One State Bar Association (Minnesota) has passed a conflict-free procurement resolution

 

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact:
Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org

About THE CONFLICT-FREE CITIES and CONFLICT-FREE CAMPUS INITIATIVE
Initiatives of the Enough Project’s “Raise Hope for Congo” campaign, the Conflict-Free Cities and Conflict-Free Campus Initiative (CFCI) draw on the power of student leadership and activism to help support peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. By encouraging university officials, local governments, and other stakeholders - large purchasers of electronics and powerful spokespersons - to commit to measures that pressure electronics companies to responsibly invest in the minerals sector, consumers are voicing the demand for conflict-free products from Congo. Comprehensive reform is needed in Congo for sustainable peace - now is the time is for activists to lead the conflict-free movement. Join us: www.conflictfreecampus.org

What if Black Friday were Conflict-Free?

As you embark on Black Friday and holiday shopping, the Enough Project hopes that you consider companies’ sourcing practices when you make your purchasing decisions on electronics and other items, and continue to tell companies that you want to be able to buy conflict-free products made with minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Read More »

500+ Conflict-Free Campus Initiative Student Leaders Sign Letter to U.S. Envoy Perriello

Enough staff and CFCI leaders deliver letter to Special Envoy Perriello

On November 6, 2015, a cohort of Conflict-Free Campus Initiative leaders met with U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, Tom Perriello, to present a letter of support for his appointment signed by over 500 students around the country and to discuss their shared priorities of supporting peace in the region.  Read More »

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