Eastern Congo

The Impact of Dodd-Frank and Conflict Minerals Reforms on Eastern Congo’s War

Just four years after enactment of historic Dodd-Frank “conflict minerals” legislation, a new investigative report by the Enough Project identifies early signs of success, with many lucrative mines in eastern Congo no longer controlled by violent armed groups responsible for mass atrocities, rape, and grave violations of human rights. 

Armed Groups Cede Control of Mines in Eastern Congo

Date: 
Jun 10, 2014

For Release: 10 June 2014

Contact: Christina DiPasquale, 202.716.1953, Christina@fitzgibbonmedia.com

 

Enough Project Investigative Report:

Armed Groups Cede Control of Mines in Eastern Congo

Dodd-Frank Rules Push US Companies to Clean Up Conflict Mineral Supply Chains, but Urgent Reforms Needed on Gold

Just four years after enactment of historic Dodd-Frank “conflict minerals” legislation, a new investigative report by the Enough Project identifies early signs of success, as armed groups responsible for mass atrocities, rape, and grave violations of human rights have ceded control of two-thirds of mines surveyed in eastern Congo producing tantalum, tin, and tungsten. 

Enough’s report, by Fidel Bafilemba, Timo Mueller, and Sasha Lezhnev, is the result of 5 months of field research examining 14 mining locations that produce three key minerals used in electronics, autos and an array of other products. While early success is seen in the demilitarization of these “3T” mines, conflict gold is still in need of urgent reform.

“Our research found that electronics companies are expanding their responsible minerals sourcing from Congo, and Congolese miners are now able to earn 40% more from those mines,” said Enough’s Senior Policy Analyst Sasha Lezhnev. “Mines formerly controlled by warlords such as Bosco Ntaganda are now part of peaceful supply chains, as 21 electronics brands and other companies now source from 16 conflict-free mines in Congo. Tech and jewelry companies should further expand these projects and contribute to the new USAID fund for artisanal miners.”

“After years of abusive international extraction of Congo’s resources, the Dodd-Frank law is reforming the way that commercial actors engage in eastern Congo and the region. Responsible businesses are beginning to remove the gasoline that has fueled Congo’s deadly conflicts,” said Enough’s Co-Founder John Prendergast, “but the Congolese army and several other militias continue predatory abuses against civilians.” 

The report, “The Impact of Dodd-Frank and Conflict Minerals Reforms on Eastern Congo’s Conflict,” finds that since the legislation began forcing companies to examine and begin cleaning up their supply chains, and since the Congolese military launched an initial restructuring, armed groups and Congo’s army have ceded control of two-thirds of mines surveyed that produce tantalum, tin, and tungsten in eastern Congo.

“Dodd-Frank has had major impact in eastern Congo by making it much less economically viable for illegal armed groups and the army to exploitatively mine 3 out of the 4 major conflict minerals,” said Enough’s Field Researcher Fidel Bafilemba. “However, U.S. Special Envoy Russ Feingold, the United Nations, and especially now those in jewelry business, must squarely address conflict gold that still funds armed groups responsible for atrocities and grave human rights abuse.”

"The Congolese government, NGOs, and donors should create a miners entrepreneurship fund to empower miners in eastern Congo to expand their small businesses, generate income, and minimize safety risks and abuses known to artisanal mining,” said Enough’s Field Researcher Timo Mueller.

“Without reforming the security sector, militarily engaging the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebel group, introducing real anti-corruption reforms, and committing to free and fair elections, the security situation will remain unstable,” added Prendergast.

The Enough Project publishes conflict mineral company rankings and has worked with companies like Intel to help rid their supply chains of conflict minerals. Enough runs Raise Hope for Congo and the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative.

Link to download the report: http://eno.ug/D-FCongo  

To speak with an Enough Project spokesperson on this topic, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.716.1953 or Christina@fitzgibbonmedia.com.

Additional Resources:

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The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more:  www.enoughproject.org.

Enough Project on Historic Dodd-Frank Conflict Mineral Disclosures to SEC

Date: 
Jun 2, 2014

 

Enough Project on Historic Dodd-Frank Conflict Mineral Disclosures to SEC
US Companies Reveal Today If Products Fund Atrocities

 

Today is the deadline for companies to disclose any conflict minerals in their product supply chains to the Securities and Exchange Commission in compliance with Section 1502 of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

“It’s an historic day in the fight against corporate abuses in supply chains,” said Sasha Lezhnev. “For the first time ever, electronics and other companies are disclosing whether or not rape and mass killing are part of their supply chains. But the conflict in Congo is not over, and we still need to see more action from jewelers and the U.S. government to fight against conflict gold.”

“For years, electronics, jewelry, and other companies turned a blind eye to what was inside their supply chains. With today’s filings to the SEC, they can no longer do that,” said Enough Project co-founder John Prendergast. “From now on, consumers can look under the hood and judge for themselves whether the maker of their smart phone or necklace is getting rid of blood minerals from Congo and make an informed choice when they go shopping.”

“The Dodd-Frank law on conflict minerals has already had a major impact on deadly armed groups in eastern Congo, helping demilitarize 67% of mines for 3 out of 4 conflict minerals and take away lucrative revenue sources from warlords such as ‘The Terminator’ and ‘Cobra’, added Lezhnev. “Today’s disclosures by electronics and other companies help move that process forward. Electronics and jewelry companies now need to move forward and make fully conflict-free products that include certified minerals from Congo.”

As a part of the U.S. Government's Dodd-Frank Act, signed into law in July 2010, Section 1502 requires companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges to trace the sources of their tin, tungsten, tantalum, or gold minerals and disclose whether or not they are sourcing conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo or neighboring countries. The reporting requirements mandate the auditing and disclosure of mineral supply chains, relating to products that use those minerals, and provides the commercial leverage to catalyze reform.

PREDICTED COSTS TO BUSINESSES WERE OVERSTATED

“As companies file, we are finding that their actual costs of implementing Dodd-Frank are much lower than what lobbyists estimated. For a $1 billion company, the real cost of filing is approximately $150,000, according to industry experts Claigan Environmental, continued Lezhnev.” This is in large part due to the fact that most companies can use the industry-wide systems set up by Intel, Motorola Solutions, and industry leaders, particularly the Conflict-Free Smelter Program.”

The Enough Project introduced a new consumer action to demand that electronics and other companies work to build fully conflict-free products and source clean minerals from Congo. Enough publishes conflict mineral company rankings and has worked with companies like Intel and others to rid their product supply chains of conflict minerals fueling the deadly decades-old conflict in the Congo.

The Enough Project also runs campaigns and programs including Raise Hope for Congo and the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative.

To speak with an Enough Project spokesperson on this topic, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.716.1953 or Christina@fitzgibbonmedia.com.

Additional Enough Project Resources:

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The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more:  www.enoughproject.org.

STATEMENT: Enough Project Calls on Kerry, Feingold to Focus on Addressing Conflict Issues in Congo and Angola

Date: 
May 3, 2014
For Immediate Release: May 3, 2014
Contact: Christina DiPasquale, 202.716.1953christina@fitzgibbonmedia.com

STATEMENT: Enough Project Calls on Kerry, Feingold to Focus on Addressing Conflict Issues in Congo and Angola

As Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Special Envoy Russ Feingold travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo this weekend, the Enough Project released the following statements:

"There is a real chance to defeat, disarm and dismantle some of the most brutal armed groups on the African continent,” said John Prendergast, Enough Project Co-founder. “Kerry and Feingold can help catalyze more robust action to counter these groups and give some measure of peace to the long-suffering Congolese people."

“John Kerry and Russ Feingold have a golden opportunity to make an impact on peace in Congo,” said Sasha Lezhnev, Enough Senior Policy Analyst. “They should urge Presidents Kabila and dos Santos to create a feedback loop for civil society to be involved in the peace process and to widen the agenda of talks to include economic issues such as minerals certification. They should also urge Kabila to make concrete progress on addressing the critical regional security threat, the FDLR rebel group.”

See also:

To speak to an Enough Project spokesperson, please contact Christina DiPasquale at , 202.716.1953 or christina@fitzgibbonmedia.com.

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The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more about Enough, go to www.enoughproject.org.

STATEMENT: Enough Project Reacts to Verdict on Sexual Violence Case in Democratic Republic of Congo

Date: 
May 5, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 5, 2014

CONTACT:
Christina DiPasquale: 202.716.1953christina@fitzgibbonmedia.com 
Alec Saslow: 720.319.4948alec@fitzgibbonmedia.com  

STATEMENT: Enough Project Reacts to Verdict on Sexual Violence Case in Democratic Republic of Congo

Following the release of a verdict in the eastern Congolese military court prosecuting rapes in Minova that ended with two soldiers convicted and many completed cleared, Holly Dranginis, Policy Associate at the Enough Project, released the following statement:

“Minova has sparked much-needed attention to prosecuting sexual violence in Congo and other conflict-affected states. However, it has also shined a light on deep flaws in Congo’s approach to ending impunity for atrocities. From a legal perspective, the case was doomed from the beginning, and today's verdict confirms that. The selection of indictees excluded senior commanders, but otherwise was largely arbitrary with mostly rank and file soldiers being charged. Both sides – prosecution and defense – faced a debilitating lack of resources. Evidence was scarce and mismanaged.

That said, the bravery of survivors who testified cannot be overstated. They risked their safety and wellbeing and in doing so have made a significant contribution to the global fight for sexual violence accountability.

 

If Congo is serious about addressing its sexual violence crisis, it must fill critical gaps in the administration of cases. We have come a long way, but there is much more work to be done.”

 

To speak with an Enough Project spokesperson, please contact Alec Saslow (720.319.4948Alec@Fitzgibbonmedia.com) or Christina DiPasquale  (202.716.1953christina@fitzgibbonmedia.com).

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The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more about Enough, go to www.enoughproject.org.

Enough Launches New Action on Conflict Minerals, Intel Launches New Web Hub to Spread Awareness

Two new developments are happening this week on conflict minerals. First, Intel launched a major new web hub to spread awareness about the issue of conflict minerals and to help move solutions forward. Meanwhile, Enough introduced a new consumer action to demand that electronics and other companies work to build fully conflict-free products and source clean minerals from Congo.  Read More »

Op-ed: Minova's Rape Acquittals Reveal Lessons for Congo

If Congo and the international community are to learn anything productive from the Minova trial, they will look beyond its verdict. The devil - and the value - is in the details.  Read More »

Responsible sourcing of minerals from conflict zones: is the EU doing enough?

On March 5, 2014, the European Commission released its long-awaited responsible trading strategy for minerals from conflict zones. The Regulation – basically a draft law – would establish a system that is fundamentally different from the approach taken by the U.S. Dodd-Frank Act and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule. Business & human rights experts, namely the architect of the U.N. Guiding Principles (UNGPs), John Ruggie, also expressed concern with regards to the non-binding character of the due diligence exercise envisaged by the E.U.  Read More »

Child Soldiers: The Urgency of Reintegration

This is the third in a blog series about issues currently perpetuating the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including the conflict minerals trade, sexual violence, and child soldier recruitment. Although many Congolese are facing incredibly difficult situations, there are local civil society groups taking action and creating avenues for sustainable peace. In this blog series, I will discuss each issue and give examples of organizations making positive changes.  Read More »

TEDx: Capturing the Conflict Mineral Trade in DRC with Marcus Bleasdale

Enough Project Senior Fellow Marcus Bleasdale is a documentary photographer who uses his work to influence policy makers around the world. This TEDx talk was given by him on the topic of the price of modern technology and capturing the conflict mineral trade in Democratic Republic of Congo.

The price of modern technology: capturing conflict mineral trade in Democratic Republic of Congo - Marcus Bleasdale, Enough Project Senior Fellow

Marcus Bleasdale is a documentary photographer who uses his work to influence policy makers around the world. His work appears in National Geographic, The New Yorker, The New York Times, TIME and his work on human rights and conflict has been shown at the US Senate, The US House of Representatives, The United Nations and the Houses of Parliament in the UK. In this eye-opening talk, Marcus' photographs bear witness to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo that is fueled by conflict minerals to be used in everyday electronic devices.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.

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