Eastern Congo

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 »

Foreign Policy Op-ed: The Imperfect Trial of Congo’s ‘Terminator’

2009 file photo of Bosco Ntaganda (seated center)

As Bosco Ntaganda faces charges of war crimes at the Hague, those watching from Congo debate what comes next for their country.  Read More »

Challenge to “Conflict Minerals” Court Ruling is Essential

Date: 
Sep 30, 2015

 

Deadline for SEC to Appeal Latest Court Decision on Constitutionality of Requirement is October 2

September 30, 2015 (Washington DC) – The Enough Project highlighted today the significance of a looming deadline this Friday, October 2, for appeal of a court ruling on U.S. corporate “conflict minerals” reporting. On the heels of a disappointing decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals affirming that one part of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) requirement is unconstitutional, the SEC and other parties can petition for a review. Conflict minerals experts at the Enough Project are available to media for comment and interviews.

Holly Dranginis, Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, said: “This next phase of appeal is essential, both for the sake of corporate transparency and for efforts to build sustainable peace in Congo. The court’s latest decision, calling the constitutionality of the rule's descriptor component into question, is on very shaky ground. Moreover, if the requirement for companies to conclusively describe their products is struck down permanently, the significant positive momentum that Dodd-Frank 1502 has helped trigger in Congo could be disrupted.”

Statement by the Enough Project:
Friday Deadline for SEC to Appeal Latest Conflict Minerals Court Ruling
September 30, 2015

This Friday, October 2, is the deadline for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other parties to petition for a review of the most recent court decision on the SEC’s Conflict Minerals Rule. The Enough Project eagerly awaits word about the status of this court decision and the potential petition for an en banc review.

On August 18, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued the latest in a series of decisions on the case National Association of Manufacturers, et al. v. SEC, upholding a previous decision that one part of the rule violates companies’ First Amendment rights, but keeping the majority of companies’ disclosure requirements intact. The deadline for parties to file for a review of the case by the court en banc is this Friday, October 2

In 2012, the SEC promulgated the Conflict Minerals Rule based on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s Section 1502. A group of industry associations challenged the rule in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals based on the Administrative Procedure Act and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The Enough Project strongly disagrees with the recent ruling that the descriptor requirement violates companies’ free speech rights and agrees with the dissenting opinion that “DRC Conflict Free” is a factual and uncontroversial statement. Whether certain minerals in a supply chain are linked to the funding of an armed group is a matter of investigation, not a matter of opinion. It is not always an easy fact to determine, but it is a fact nonetheless.

Some misleading media reporting has said that the most recent ruling “threw out the rule” or “gutted” the rule. In fact, the only portion of the rule that industry associations are challenging in court is the requirement for companies to use “descriptors” in their reporting, that is, to report whether or not their products are “DRC Conflict Free” or “Not Been Found to be ‘DRC Conflict Free.’” The remainder of the reporting requirements are still in place. Thus, companies are legally bound to continue reporting on their minerals’ origins and their due diligence practices.

While it is only a limited win for the industry associations, the decision to strike the descriptor requirement is detrimental for the transparency and humanitarian goals of the Conflict Minerals Rule. In the absence of the descriptor requirement, three major problems arise:

  • First, the audit requirement for companies will likely disappear. The audit requirement represents an important accountability mechanism to make sure companies’ reports are truthful and accurate. Without audits, companies could make statements about their supply chains, and the public would have no way of knowing whether they were being truthful, as no independent third party would have verified them.
     
  • Second, companies’ Conflict Minerals Reports will become less accessible to the public and investors. Companies’ due diligence reporting can be complex and dense, whereas the descriptor provides a clear summary statement of the outcome of a company’s due diligence. This is critical for giving consumers and investors the information they need to both choose which companies to support and pressure companies to improve their practices.
     
  • Finally, the descriptor requirement exerts internal pressure for companies to understand and summarize their own supply chains and due diligence practices by requiring they reach a clear conclusion. As we have seen in the first two years of companies reporting to the SEC on conflict minerals, many companies are falling far short of robust due diligence reporting. Many companies are starting to simply claim that they looked a bit into their supply chains and did not find anything troublesome but give almost no information about what due diligence they actually conducted. The descriptor can act as a lever to push companies to do more thorough investigations and reporting in service of reaching a clear, truthful summary conclusion.

The decision, as it stands, is one result of a larger strategy by certain corporate actors using the First Amendment to avoid regulation and public accountability. In this case, that effort is particularly harmful: it aims to protect companies’ right to remain blind to their potential financial support of deadly armed groups. The growing number of investors and consumers who care about corporate responsibility, along with the people in central Africa affected by U.S. companies’ sourcing practices, deserve better.

For more information about how the Conflict Minerals Rule has already begun to promote peace and transparency in Congo, visit the Enough Project’s resource pagehttp://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

Syndicate content