Raise Hope for Congo

M23’s Wider Influence: Mobilizing Militias, Stirring Ethnic Conflict

The widespread nature of violence in eastern Congo today is often described as being the result of a security vacuum: The attention of the Congolese army and the U.N. peacekeepers is focused on M23, leaving other parts of the volatile region vulnerable to local armed groups. This is surely part of the story. But there is also reason to believe that these local militias are receiving backing from outside actors.  Read More »

5 Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

A weekly round-up of must-read stories, posted every Friday.  Read More »

New Enough Policy Brief: Making Sense of the SEC Conflict Minerals Regulation

On August 22, 2012, following several delays, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, voted to adopt regulations regarding conflict minerals, as required by Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. In a new policy brief, the Enough Project summarizes the SEC’s reporting requirements for companies and outlines key implications for the advocacy community.  Read More »

Making Sense of the SEC Conflict Minerals Regulations: Enough Brief

Date: 
Aug 30, 2012

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Tracy Fehr, +1-937-902-9587, tfehr@enoughproject.org  

WASHINGTON – On August 22, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, voted to adopt conflict minerals regulations for section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. Following the vote, the Enough Project analyzed the 356-page text and published a new policy brief that summarizes reporting requirements for companies, and outlines key implications for the advocacy community.

Over the next four years, hundreds of companies that file annual reports with the SEC will have to exercise due diligence on the source and chain of custody of the minerals in its products. These regulations are designed to help reduce the trade of conflict minerals, which has been a major funding source for armed groups in eastern Congo.

Many companies will have to comply with the law, but how they comply will depend in part on how narrowly or expansively companies and the SEC interpret the final rule, and how effective non-governmental organizations, faith-based groups, and other human rights advocates are at monitoring compliance.

"While the final rule is not perfect, it moves the conversation forward,” said Darren Fenwick, author of the brief and Enough Project Senior Manager of Government Affairs.  “ The rule gets companies that use conflict minerals to report, and gives actors that care about this issue and want to invest in Congo, like Intel, Motorola, KEMET and HP, the terms by which to operate.  The Enough Project will continue to laud companies working to eliminate the trade in conflict minerals, and bring to the attention of the SEC and the public companies who are not.”

According to the brief, two of the major compliance concerns that advocates will closely monitor are whether companies that should file section 1502 specialized disclosures actually do, and whether each companies’ minerals country of origin inquiry produces a conclusive result.  Due diligence is only triggered when a company knows or has reason to believe its minerals came from Congo or neighboring countries. Companies may perceive an incentive to conduct a country of origin inquiry that produces inconclusive results, believing they would not have to conduct due diligence in such a case.  Advocates will need to monitor good faith compliance in the conduct of these inquiries.

“Section 1502 was never intended to address all of Congo’s ills, but was designed to deal with an immediate humanitarian crisis and create the space for needed reform,” said John C. Bradshaw, Executive Director of the Enough Project. “Section 1502 applies U.S. leverage to reduce the ability of armed groups to operate in eastern Congo, opening up the door to much-needed security sector and justice system reform, as well as sustained economic development.”  

The policy brief is the first of a series of Enough Project briefs on the implementation of section 1502.

Read the full brief: “The SEC’s Ruling on Conflict Minerals: Reporting Requirements for Companies.”

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Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, the Enough Project focuses on crises in Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas of Africa affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, please visit www.enoughproject.org.

 

The SEC’s Final Rule on Conflict Minerals: Reporting Requirements for Companies

On August 22, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, adopted regulations for Section 1502, the provision of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law that deals with conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC. The trade in these minerals fuels a conflict that continues to cause suffering among the people of eastern Congo.

Miner in the DRC

Enough 101: What is the M23 Movement in Eastern Congo?

This week's post in the series Enough 101 offers an overview of the Congolese rebel group M23.  Read More »

A Step Forward: The SEC Releases Rules on Conflict Minerals and Transparency

In the fall of 2008, I met for the first time with my local member of Congress, Representative Spencer Bachus of Alabama. As a sophomore at Samford University, I was nervous and far from an expert on the topic of discussion: transparency of companies in the extractive industries. Little did I know, after four years of advocacy efforts with activists across the country that I would be sitting in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, last Wednesday to hear the commissioners release and implement two monumental rules from the 2010 Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act.  Read More »

5 Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

A weekly round-up of must-read stories, posted every Friday.  Read More »

SEC Rules on Conflict Minerals: Positive Step but Threat of Lawsuit Lingers

The rule, which requires companies to publicly disclose their use of conflict minerals that originated in eastern Congo or neighboring countries, should have an overall positive effect on promoting peace and stability in Congo—but a slow one.  Read More »

SEC Adopts Conflict Minerals Rules as Chamber Threatens Lawsuit

Date: 
Aug 22, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 22, 2012

Contact: Jonathan Hutson, +1.202.386.1618, jhutson@enoughproject.org

WASHINGTON – The Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, voted on August 22 to adopt conflict minerals regulations required by section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act, despite industry pressure and the threat of a lawsuit by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

"After a more than one-year delay in issuing the rule, it is disappointing that the SEC has added an unnecessary two-year phase-in period to implement these conflict minerals regulations," said Enough Project Executive Director John C. Bradshaw. "We still need to analyze the final rules to assess their impact on companies sourcing minerals from Congo and its neighboring countries, but such an extended phase-in period clearly caters to corporate interests over the people of eastern Congo."

The conflict minerals regulations require that companies disclose whether they use conflict minerals—gold, tin, tungsten, or tantalum sourced from eastern Congo or its neighboring countries—to reveal whether their products fund armed groups in eastern Congo. The Dodd-Frank legislation required the SEC to release regulations for companies using conflict minerals by April 17, 2011. However, delays caused by companies, bureaucratic processes, and the threat of a lawsuit by the Chamber of Commerce have pushed back the release for a full year.

“The Chamber of Commerce continues to threaten a lawsuit against the SEC, asserting the cost for cleaning up supply chains is too high for companies,” said Enough Project Senior Government Affairs Manager Darren Fenwick. “The reality is that major companies such as Microsoft, General Electric, and Motorola Solutions have rejected the Chamber of Commerce’s stance against section 1502 regulations, and industry leaders such as Intel, HP, Motorola Solutions and Apple have already established conflict-free programs ahead of the required SEC regulations, proving that clean supply chains are possible, and profitable.”

In response to growing consumer demand, over the past 18 months electronics companies have significantly stepped up efforts to use and invest in conflict-free minerals, according to Enough Project’s 2012 Company Rankings on Conflict Minerals.

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The Enough Project’s Raise Hope for Congo campaign aims to build a permanent and diverse constituency of activists who will advocate for the human rights of all Congolese citizens and work towards ending the ongoing conflict in eastern Congo. For more information, please visit www.raisehopeforcongo.org.

Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, the Enough Project focuses on crises in Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas of Africa affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, please visit www.enoughproject.org.

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