Eastern Congo

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

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

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