Eastern Congo

Companies File Third Round of Conflict Minerals Reports, SEC, Government Agencies Must Follow Through

May 31st marks the third annual deadline for electronics, manufacturing, and other companies to file conflict minerals reports with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as part of their obligation under Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. With three years of reporting now completed, the SEC must follow through on its responsibility to hold companies accountable for the content of these reports by ensuring that companies have filed complete and accurate reports that meet regulatory requirements.  Read More »

Number of Certified Conflict-Free Mines in Congo Increases by 31%: 204 Mines Certified

The number of officially certified conflict-free mines in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has increased by 31% since June 2015, according to recent data from the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) and Congo's Mining Ministry. Multi-stakeholder teams made up of business persons, government officials, and civil society members have validated that 204 mines in eastern Congo are now free of armed groups, the military, and the worst forms of child labor.  Read More »

Enough Project Statement on May 26th Congo Democracy Protests, Need for Targeted Sanctions

The Enough Project is deeply concerned about the growing political crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo. For over a year, citizens have been calling on President Kabila to indicate his intentions to step down, resulting in dozens of arbitrary arrests and detentions. Government security forces are continuing this trend of violent response to the country-wide demonstrations using tear gas, beatings, and bullets.   Read More »

Companies File Third Round of Conflict Minerals Reports, SEC, Government Agencies Must Follow Through

Date: 
May 26, 2016

 

May 31st marks the third annual deadline for electronics, manufacturing, and other companies to file conflict minerals reports with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as part of their obligation under Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. With three years of reporting now completed, the SEC must follow through on its responsibility to hold companies accountable for the content of these reports by ensuring that companies have filed complete and accurate reports that meet regulatory requirements. 

The reporting requirement impacts all companies publicly traded in the United States with products containing any of the four conflict minerals: tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold.

Dodd-Frank 1502, the corresponding SEC Conflict Minerals Rule, and the OECD Due Diligence Guidance are important transparency measures to help stem the flow of conflict minerals from eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo), where over 5.4 million people have died since 1993 as a result of armed conflict. These measures are one part of a comprehensive approach to addressing this issue. Other policy steps on governance are also needed to end the conflict, grand corruption, and wider repression in Congo.

Since the first filing deadline in 2014, there has been steady progress both in supply chain management and impact on armed group funding in Congo. Today, 216 out of approximately 324 smelters and refiners worldwide (67 percent) have passed conflict-free audits and an additional 50 smelters/refiners are in the process of being audited, for a total of 266 participating companies (82 percent).  These audits are a crucial step towards ensuring conflict-free supply chains. Additionally, a 2014 independent study by the International Peace Information Service (IPIS) found that 70 percent of tin, tungsten, and tantalum mines surveyed in eastern Congo were no longer controlled by armed groups, and 204 mines in Congo are now officially certified as conflict-free.

Sasha Lezhnev, Associate Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “Dodd-Frank Section 1502 is increasing the rule of law in a previously conflict-rife minerals trade in Congo and the region, helping to make 70% of tin, tantalum, and tungsten mines conflict-free, as IPIS found. Several companies such as Intel, Apple, and Ford are leading the way to implement the law and go beyond, demanding increased transparency from suppliers and traders – a far cry from the pre-Dodd-Frank era of zero supply chain transparency. However, some companies are still choosing to do next to nothing to show that they actually investigated their supply chains to know whether or not there are conflict minerals in them. That must change.”

Brad Brooks-Rubin, Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “It is time for the SEC to follow through on company compliance on conflict minerals. Not all companies are doing proper due diligence and taking this regulatory reporting requirement seriously. In order for there to be meaningful industry-wide change, the SEC must take steps to demonstrate that companies will be held appropriately accountable for the content of their reports.”

Annie Callaway, Advocacy & Activist Manager at the Enough Project, said: “Through the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative, dozens of schools, cities, and states across the country and internationally have implemented policies that alter their procurement structures to favor companies that are working to become conflict-free. These entities, as well as consumers and investors more broadly, rely on accurate conflict minerals reports in order to make informed purchasing decisions and evaluate whether product supply chains directly or indirectly fund armed violence in Congo.” 

Companies and governments, both in the West and in Central Africa, must take further steps in addition to the SEC reporting requirement to help end the conflict minerals trade in Congo. Companies should urge their suppliers to source from conflict-free mines in Congo, and commit resources to livelihoods support for Congolese mining communities. The U.S. and European governments should provide additional funding to the minerals certification system in the region, in particular to the Independent Mineral Chain Auditor of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR); they must also pressure the Congolese government to hold elections on time in accordance with Congo’s constitution. However, Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the corresponding Conflict Minerals Rule establish an important baseline for transparency that must be enforced in order to remain effective. 

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Megha Swamy, Media Relations Specialist, +1 202 478 5323mswamy@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

Foreign Affairs Dispatch: Virunga's Charcoal Cartel

On the southwestern flank of Virunga, a protected national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, there was once a thick rainforest. Today it looks like the surface of the moon, barren and smoking. A resident in the area told me that ten years ago he could walk up the road and see elephants. Now the elephants are gone. In their place are violent militias operating an illegal charcoal trade, cutting and burning Virunga’s rare forests to the ground.  Read More »

STUDENTS - APPLY NOW! Campus Organizer, Enough Project's Conflict-Free Campus Initiative 2016-17

The Conflict-Free Campus Initiative (CFCI), a joint initiative of the Enough Project and STAND, draws on the power of student leadership and activism to support peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo. By encouraging school officials and stakeholders, both of which are large purchasers of electronics and powerful spokespersons, to commit to measures that pressure electronics companies to invest responsibly in Congo's minerals sector, students are voicing the demand for conflict-free products from Congo. As a Campus Organizer for CFCI, you will be an essential part of strengthening the conflict-free movement on your campus. APPLY NOW!  Read More »

Apple Steps Up on Conflict Minerals

Date: 
Mar 31, 2016

 

Tech giant’s firm but fair measures with suppliers and investigations in eastern Congo are key steps in the right direction to fight the deadly trade. Enough Project highlights where Apple could take next steps.

This week, Apple released a new report that revealed the company had taken several groundbreaking steps to combat the deadly in trade in conflict minerals. Four minerals used in electronics, jewelry, and other products – gold, tin, tantalum, and tungsten – have helped fund armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in which over 5.4 million people have died since 1994. 

Enough Project experts are available for comment and analysis on Apple’s new report. The Enough Project has been monitoring Apple’s work on conflict minerals since 2009.

Sasha Lezhnev, Associate Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “Apple's new supplier report is a model for how companies should be addressing conflict minerals. Apple's tough love with its suppliers is critical to solving the problem of deadly conflict minerals -- it offered assistance to suppliers but then took the difficult step of cutting out those who were unwilling to undergo an audit. Firm but fair follow-through by tech and other companies with their suppliers is a key step that's needed to cut off global markets for conflict minerals.”

Brad Brooks-Rubin, Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “We appreciate Apple's commitment to issuing an honest and thoughtful reflection on the progress it has made as a company and that conflict-free initiatives have made to date overall.  We agree strongly with Apple's assessment that it will "take the contributions of many different stakeholders to effect lasting change in the minerals sector of the Region" and encourage others to work with Apple and other leaders to do just that.”

Apple’s detailed report highlighted that 100% of the smelters in the company’s supply chain were participating in third-party independent audits on conflict minerals issues. That is an industry first. The company also conducted deeper investigations into tin, tantalum, and gold supply chain issues in eastern Congo and the surrounding region, in particular of incidents in the iTSCi traceability and due diligence system and the Dubai-based gold refiner Kaloti.

Lezhnev added: “Apple’s deeper investigations and push to the tin industry to make it more transparent about incidents in its iTSCi traceability system are critically important steps. The tin industry has responded by improving some of its reporting, but much work remains to be done. Following up, Apple and other leading tech and jewelry companies should press the Congolese government to improve its system to approve mines as conflict-free and have its state-owned companies be independently audited. A push from industry could help reduce rampant corruption in Congo.”

Apple offered more detail in its Conflict Minerals Report to the Securities and Exchange Commission than the vast majority of company reports on this issue. Intel, Signet Jewelers, and Ford have also provided transparent, detailed reports on due diligence in the recent past. The openness of this reporting and due diligence that the company conducted are welcome and should be emulated by other companies – over 1,300 companies report to the SEC on this issue. Going forward, Apple should also set up direct sourcing initiatives in Congo to purchase conflict-free gold and other minerals, and support livelihood projects for artisanal mining communities.

Link to Apple’s report: http://www.apple.com/supplier-responsibility/progress-report

Link to Apple’s SEC filing: http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/320193/000119312516523320/d168894dex101.htm

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.

International Women’s Day 2016: A Celebration of Congo’s Changemakers

To mark International Women’s Day 2016, the Enough Project is highlighting women in Congo who are working towards peace, security, and accountability for their communities and their country.

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

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