Eastern Congo

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 »

Growing the Conflict-Free Movement at Illinois College

Allie McNamara

In this guest blog, Conflict-Free Campus Initiative Campus Organizer Allie McNamara describes how she got involved with the conflict-free movement and what she’s doing to support peace in Congo on her campus.    Read More »

In Letter, 500 Students Urge Special Envoy Perriello to Support Conflict-Free Mining, Peace and Anti-Corruption Efforts in Congo

Date: 
Nov 6, 2015

 

Washington, DC – A letter to Thomas Perriello, US Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, signed by more than 500 student activists, urges support for local and national peace efforts, a conflict-free minerals trade in eastern Congo, livelihood programs for miners, sanctions and prosecutions for corrupt officials, and inclusion of women and other civil society groups in electoral and peacebuilding processes.

The letter, from student members of the Enough Project’s Conflict Free Campus Initiative (CFCI), will be delivered to the recently appointed Special Envoy today.

Annie CallawaySenior Advocacy Associate at the Enough Project, said: "This letter demonstrates both the breadth and nuance of the student movement working to support peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Students recognize many aspects are necessary for sustainable peace - including accountability, inclusivity, and supply chain due diligence that encourages a conflict-free minerals trade - and the letter reflects their enthusiasm to collaborate with Special Envoy Perriello on these and other vital issues."

CFCI student activists work with university administrators, student governments, and local communities to enact measures that pressure electronics companies and other relevant industries to help end the conflict minerals trade and responsibly invest in Congo’s minerals sector. As a result of the student campaign, 19 universities, colleges, and high schools have passed conflict-free procurement resolutions.

Students from more than 175 schools across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom have participated in CFCI.  

Letter to Special Envoy Perriello:

November 4, 2015

Dear Special Envoy Perriello:

As student leaders from campuses across the United States and abroad who advocate to help end the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we would like to formally congratulate you on your appointment. We appreciate your commitment to ensuring that the responsibilities of this incredibly important position remain a priority for the U. S. government as we maintain our commitment to supporting your efforts to contribute to peace in Congo and the Great Lakes region.

As the Special Envoy to the region, you are best positioned to build on the progress made by your predecessor and forge ahead on additional peace initiatives. We recognize the conflict in Congo is complex and are therefore working at the campus level to implement effective policies and bolster your efforts.   

Through the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative – a joint initiative of the Enough Project and STAND –  we work with university administrators, student governments, and our local communities to enact measures that pressure electronics companies and other relevant industries to help end the conflict minerals trade and responsibly invest in Congo’s minerals sector. So far, 19 universities, colleges, and high schools have passed resolutions to this effect, and students from more than 175 schools across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom have participated in the campaign. Our goal is to bring attention to the consumer link between conflict minerals and the financing of armed groups in Congo, while also advocating for additional reforms that will benefit Congolese communities.  

As engaged student leaders committed to seeing an end to the crisis, we ask that you take a strong and deliberate stance on the following issues:

  1. Tackle key challenges on conflict minerals, in particular conflict gold and miners’ livelihoods. In recent years, there have been significant improvements in the transparency of corporate supply chains as well as a major reduction in the number of tin, tungsten, and tantalum mines controlled by armed groups in eastern Congo. However, much more must be done to address the conflict gold trade and to support Congolese mining communities that have been negatively affected by the changing economic landscape. To that end, the United States must provide more robust support for conflict-free projects and livelihoods programs for mining communities in Congo.
  2. Ensure the United States takes real steps to hold accountable the leaders and businesses most responsible for mass corruption and violence in Congo. This includes implementing targeted sanctions and prosecutions against corrupt officials and illicit financial networks that aid armed groups.
  3. Make sure women’s and other civil society voices are heard in high-level peace efforts and hold accountable leaders who block democracy. Congo enters a critical period as elections planned for late 2016 approach and President Kabila ramps up efforts to remain in power, despite constitutional requirements that he must step down. The months prior to the elections are potentially a very dangerous period for communities across Congo. In cooperation with regional and international stakeholders, the United States must prepare to take a strong stand to ensure Congo’s elections are held on time and are free and fair. Additionally, high-level peace talks in Congo and the region will not be sustainable without the meaningful inclusion of civil society, especially women.

 

As student leaders, our goals are clear: help end the deadly trade in conflict minerals, encourage responsible, conflict-free investment in Congo, and support peace. Achieving these goals will only be possible if leaders like you continue to actively support key, Congolese-led reforms.

We thank you for the fresh perspective and excitement you bring to this position, and are eager to work alongside you.

[Signed by 530 students. Signatures in linked letter below]

Link to full letter: http://eno.ug/1iFIIW5

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 CAMPUS INITIATIVE 
An initiative of the Enough Project’s “Raise Hope for Congo” campaign, the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative (CFCI) draws on the power of student leadership and activism to help support peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. By encouraging university officials and stakeholders - large purchasers of electronics and powerful spokespersons - to commit to measures that pressure electronics companies to responsibly invest in Congo’s minerals sector, students 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 students to lead the conflict-free movement. Join us: www.raisehopeforcongo.org/campus  

Court Urged to Review “Conflict Minerals” Case

Date: 
Oct 29, 2015

Enough Project: Court of Appeals Review of “Exceptional Importance” on Issues of Corporate Transparency, Peace in Congo

October 29, 2015 (Washington DC) – In a statement released today, the Enough Project urged the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit to review a “damaging” recent court decision which challenges the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Conflict Minerals Rule mandated by Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

The case, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) et al. v. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), is of “exceptional importance” on issues of corporate transparency and peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and should not stand without review.

Holly Dranginis, Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, said: “In today’s globalizing world, corporate free speech and its connection with global security and human welfare is of increasing importance.”

Statement excerpt: “The American people, the people of Congo, and all communities affected by global markets and supply chains deserve clarity from the US courts on consumers’ right to know, and the limits of corporate secrecy allowed by the US constitution.”

Experts from Enough, an atrocity prevention policy group, are available for comment today. For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, gh@enoughproject.org

Complete statement by the Enough Project:

Conflict minerals court case is of “exceptional importance” and should be reviewed

October 29, 2015

The Enough Project urges the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit to review the case, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) et al. v. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), to ensure that a damaging recent decision on the issues of corporate free speech and peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo does not stand without review.

The Enough Project recognizes that en banc rehearings are reserved for rare cases of exceptional importance, or where review is needed to maintain jurisprudential uniformity. This case, which challenges the SEC’s Conflict Minerals Rule mandated by Section 1502 of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform Act, fits those criteria. With freedom of speech at the core of the challenge, a key constitutional issue is also at stake.

Corporate transparency related to conflict minerals is of exceptional, measurable public interest and importance. Students from over 150 schools around the United States and another 20 abroad have mobilized to change their schools’ procurement policies. They have also joined the wider conflict-free consumer movement, encouraging companies to clean up their supply chains, source conflict-free minerals from Congo, and invest in development in Africa’s Great Lakes region.

Most recently, more than 500 students signed on to a letter to U.S. Special Envoy to the Great Lakes region Tom Perriello, asking him to prioritize tackling key challenges on conflict minerals. Nineteen schools have passed resolutions declaring their commitment to purchase electronics from companies pursuing a conflict-free supply chain and supporting peace in Congo. Five US cities and two states have passed similar resolutions, indicating an even wider demographic of support for corporate disclosures and the conflict-free movement. 

On the specific topic of this case – the SEC’s Conflict Minerals Rule - many major American and international news media outlets have published features, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera, the Washington Post, National Geographic, and many others. Leadingconstitutional scholars and Congolese activists and have also written in prominent publications on the issue, including an open letter in support of Dodd Frank 1502, signed by 31 experts, former ambassadors, and Congolese civil society leaders.

Review is also needed to maintain uniformity in the court’s decisions. By failing to apply Zauderer’s rational review standard of scrutiny in NAM, the court ruled in contradiction to its opinion in American Meat Institute, which said Zauderer applies in cases related to country-of-origin product labeling. Its decision also contradicts Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project by failing to defer adequately to Congress on a rule directly related to foreign affairs.

Corporate free speech and its connection with global security and human welfare is of increasing importance in today’s globalizing world. The American people, the people of Congo, and all communities affected by global markets and supply chains deserve clarity from the US courts on consumers’ right to know, and the limits of corporate secrecy allowed by the US constitution.

- - -

Link to statement: http://eno.ug/1WiBF2N

Resource page for journalists covering conflict minerals issues - “Progress and Challenges on Conflict Minerals: Facts on Dodd-Frank 1502”:  http://eno.ug/1iCJiVj

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

Enough Project Statement: Conflict Minerals Court Case is of “Exceptional Importance” and Should be Reviewed

US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit

In a statement released today, the Enough Project urges the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit to review the case, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) et al. v. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), to ensure that a damaging recent decision on the issues of corporate free speech and peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo does not stand without review.  Read More »

Sunstein: Conflict Mineral Disclosure Requirements Critical for Peace and Security in Congo

In a recent Bloomberg article, Cass R. Sunstein (former administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs) defends the importance of strong corporate regulations as they relate to public disclosures.  Read More »

SEC & Amnesty Petition for Review of Recent Conflict Minerals Rule Decision

In a promising development, on Friday, October 2 the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Amnesty International both filed petitions for a review of the most recent court decision on the SEC’s Conflict Minerals Rule.  Read More »

Syndicate content