Eastern Congo

Progress and Challenges on Conflict Minerals: Facts on Dodd-Frank 1502

 

Miners in Eastern Congo

Minerals and Conflict

Justine Masika Bihamba

"10 years ago, we were under de facto control of armed groups...today, let's admit we are a long way from that. And if we’re honest, that’s in part because of Dodd-Frank – it came to shine the light on those illicit actors. Today, despite the problems with governance, you can feel more government control.Justine Masika Bihamba, Coordinator of the organization Synergy of Women for Victims of Sexual Violence

Conflict minerals have fueled and continue to help sustain armed violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo), linking them to the deadliest conflict globally since World War II.The four conflict minerals (gold, along with tin, tantalum, and tungsten, the “3Ts”) are not the only source of income to armed groups, but they are some of the most lucrative. The illegal exploitation of natural resources today is a manifestation of the grand corruption linked to violence that has marked successive governments in Kinshasa and the broader region since colonial times.

  • The U.N. Group of Experts on Congo found in 2015 that gold continued to be a source of funding for armed groups and Congo’s army.[1] A study from the Enough Project found that armed groups made an estimated $185 million from conflict minerals in 2008.[2] In 2007 the Pole Institute noted “minerals are a major source of income and of conflict in North Kivu as in the whole of the DRC,”[3] and in 2001 the UN experts found that “minerals [were] the engine of the conflict.”[4]
  • A mortality study by the International Rescue Committee looking at conflict-related deaths between August 1998 and April 2007 estimated that more than 5.4 million people died as a result of armed conflict in Congo.[5] There has been continuing violence since that study, but no definitive follow up has been conducted on the mortality toll.

 

The Law

Dr. Denis Mukwege

"A conflict-free minerals industry would contribute to ending the unspeakable violence the people of Congo have endured for years.” Dr. Denis Mukwege, Founder and Medical Director of Panzi Hospital

Section 1502 on conflict minerals of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is a transparency measure, one part of a comprehensive approach to Congo’s challenges. Passed in 2010 and implemented by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2012, it creates a reporting requirement for all companies publicly traded in the United States with products containing any of the four conflict minerals. This creates a lever to support transparency, security, and the rule of law in the mining sector. Companies must now publicly disclose annually whether any of the gold or 3Ts in their supply chains originated in Congo or a neighboring country and, if so, describe the due diligence measures taken to determine the source of the minerals. Dodd-Frank 1502 does not require companies to divest from Congo or source from conflict-free mines. The law only requires companies to report on their mineral sourcing and due diligence practices.

  • The cost of compliance has been significantly overestimated by industry lobbyists. Claigan, an independent environmental consulting firm with expertise in supply chain management, estimates the total cost of Dodd-Frank 1502 compliance was approximately $140 million for 2014.[6] This is a fraction of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s estimate of $3-4 billion for the first year.[7]

“In 2014, we educated suppliers who mistakenly believed that CFSP-compliant smelters are, by definition, not sourcing from the Covered Countries, or whose conflict minerals policies indicated that they intend not to source from the Covered Countries at all.” – EMC Corporation (Source: Conflict Minerals Report 2014)

Impact

Consistent with its objective, Dodd-Frank 1502 along with related reforms has led to significant improvements in the transparency of corporate supply chains and to a major reduction in the number of 3T conflict mines in eastern Congo. More than 60 percent of the world’s smelters for the four minerals have now passed conflict-free audits.  Before Dodd-Frank 1502, there was no certification mechanism for distinguishing conflict mines (i.e. mines controlled by armed groups or the Congolese army) from conflict-free mines, and there were no federal transparency requirements for companies on conflict minerals. The law and related reforms have changed these circumstances and created a two-tier market whereby the price for untraceable 3T conflict minerals is significantly lower than the price for verified conflict-free minerals. This price difference has made the trade in 3T minerals significantly less lucrative for armed groups.

 

PROGRESS

 

 

Number of conflict free mines: 141 (as of August 2015)

 

 

Number of refiners that have passed audits: 209 (as of January 29, 2015)

 

  • By 2014, the International Peace Information Service found that 70 percent of 3T mines it surveyed across several provinces in eastern Congo were not controlled by armed actors.[8] This is a significant change given that the U.N. Group of Experts stated as recently as 2010 that “in the Kivu provinces, almost every mining deposit [was] controlled by a military group.”[9] As of May 2014, nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of 3T miners were working in mines where no armed group involvement has been reported.[10]
  • Today, 209 out of approximately 330 smelters/refiners worldwide (over 60 percent) for the four conflict minerals have passed audits by the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative or associated programs, and an additional 47 smelters/refiners are participating in the program (i.e. are in the process of being audited) for a total of 256 participants (over 75 percent).[11]
  • There is now an emerging certification mechanism run by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), and mines have begun to be validated as conflict-free.[12] As of June 25, 2015, 141 mines in eastern Congo had been validated as conflict-free by multi-stakeholder teams made up of U.N. officials and Congolese civil society, business, and government representatives.[13]
  • In surveyed locations, “minerals that do not go through conflict-free programs sell for 30 to 60 percent less” than minerals verified as conflict-free,[14] thus reducing profits for armed group trying to sell conflict minerals.

 

"...Alcatel-Lucent does not want to prevent its suppliers from sourcing from legitimate mines located within the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its neighboring countries (as doing so could be detrimental to the legitimate economies and populations of those countries).” – Alcatel-Lucent (Source: Conflict Minerals Report 2013)

Mining Communities

Dodd-Frank 1502 must be fully implemented, not abandoned, and strengthened with livelihood projects and other support to mining communities. Similar to other places where black markets are being disrupted, many Congolese miners who have relied on 3T mining have been affected by the transition to a conflict-free economy and are experiencing livelihood challenges. The original conflict minerals draft legislation included resources for livelihood programs for mining communities, but unfortunately those provisions were omitted from the final law and thus resources were not forthcoming in a timely way, causing hardship for some communities. Some aid has been disbursed to support conflict-free mining, but more support for livelihoods projects is needed. The solution to uncovering and eliminating these harmful illicit markets is not to reduce transparency measures but rather to strengthen and expand them.

  • Livelihood projects should include alternative livelihoods programs and artisanal mining support. Project planning should involve concerted community consultations and decision-making, and projects should encompass microfinance programs, programs to increase women’s accessibility to mining and other livelihoods, and transition programs for child miners. Projects should also include aid for the formalization of artisanal mining—including the demarcation of artisanal mining zones, validation of more conflict-free mines, capacity building for mining cooperatives, provision of equipment, and development of safety standards for miners. [15]
  • Section 5 of the original “Conflict Minerals Trade Act” (introduced on Nov. 11, 2009) included provisions for livelihood support.[16] Since that time, the Enough Project has repeatedly called on the United Nations, the United States, and other governments to engage in a process of dialogue and reform in Congo that is broadly inclusive of Congolese civil society, business, and government representatives.[17]

Congolese Support

Archbishop Francois Rusengo

"Armed men have been free to exploit minerals away from any eyes. The formula for exploitation has been to attack civilians. To do that, they harm the women. When women are raped, the men are forced to flee, the children can’t survive, and the village is abandoned - then the area is free for exploitation.” Archbishop Francois Rusengo, Archbishop of Bukavu, South Kivu

Many Congolese communities and leaders—including Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Sakharov Prize winner Dr. Denis Mukwege, community activist Justine Masika Bihamba, and Archbishop François-Xavier Maroy Rusengo of Bukavu, South Kivu—support Dodd-Frank 1502. Leaders and activists support the law because they have seen direct positive impacts, because they believe in transparency and the rule of law, or both.

  • Dr. Denis Mukwege: "A conflict-free minerals industry would contribute to ending the unspeakable violence the people of Congo have endured for years. Government must not only enact strong legislation, they must be willing to enforce the law. Companies bear the responsibility of compliance and public disclosure, and acting transparently as consumers are increasingly aware of conflict-free components on the market. Tens of thousands of legitimate miners would benefit from a clean, transparent minerals industry…The mineral trade is one of the components that drive suffering in Congo.”[18]
  • Open letter signed by 31 Congolese civil society leaders, experts, and former ambassadors: “It is time for another broader push for reform on conflict minerals and natural resource governance in order to complement the Dodd-Frank legislation and deepen related minerals reforms. Dodd-Frank has been the primary driver of corporate and regional policy change on conflict minerals.”[19]

 


WATCH: Conflict Minerals Legislation - View from Eastern Congo

Congolese miners and human rights activists speak about the impact of Dodd-Frank in Congo in this video from 2012.

 

More Resources and Information

 


Citations

[1] U.N. Security Council, “Final report of the Group of Experts submitted in accordance with paragraph 5 of Security Council resolution 2136 (2014),” S/2015/19, paras. 79, 80, 116, 124, 125, 193-198, 200, 201; Annex 36, January 12, 2015, available at http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2015/19.

[2] The Enough Project Team and the Grassroots Reconciliation Group, “A Comprehensive Approach to Congo’s Conflict Minerals,” Appendix 2, p. 17 (Washington: April 2009), available at http://www.enoughproject.org/publications/comprehensive-approach-conflict-minerals-strategy-paper.

[3] Aloys Tegera and Dominic Johnson, “Rules for Sale: Formal and informal cross-border trade in Eastern DRC,” p. 40 (Goma: Pole Institute, May 2007), available at http://www.pole-institute.org/sites/default/files/regard19_anglais.pdf.

[4] U.N. Security Council, “Final report of the Group of Experts submitted in accordance with paragraph 5 of Security Council resolution 2136 (2014),” S/2015/19, paras. 79, 80, 116, 124, 125, 193-198, 200, 201; Annex 36, January 12, 2015, available at http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2015/19.

[5] Benjamin Coghlan, Pascal Ngoy, Flavien Mulumba, Colleen Hardy, Valerie Nkamgang Bemo, Tony Stewart, Jennifer Lewis, and Richard Brennan, “Mortality in the Democratic Republic of Congo: An ongoing crisis,” pp. ii, 16 (New York: International Rescue Committee, January 2008), available at http://www.rescue.org/sites/default/files/resource-file/2006-7_congoMortalitySurvey.pdf.

[6] Email correspondence with Claigan, August 2015.

[7] U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Release No. 34-67716, p. 302, August 22, 2012, available at http://www.sec.gov/rules/final/2012/34-67716.pdf.

[8] Between March 2013 and March 2014, International Peace Information Service (IPIS) researchers conducted research to map artisanal mining sites in eastern Congo. IPIS researchers found 116 of 167 cassiterite mines (70 percent), 26 of 31 coltan mines (84 percent), and 11 of 21 wolframite mines (52 percent) to be free of armed groups, making a total of 153 of 219 mines surveyed (70 percent) free of armed groups in eastern Congo. By contrast, IPIS survey results showed inverted proportions for eastern Congo’s gold mines, with only 330 of 943 gold mines (35 percent) surveyed free of armed actors. International Peace Information Service, “Infographic-Mapping Mining Areas in Eastern DRC,” January 28, 2015, available at http://ipisresearch.be/2015/01/infographic-mapping-security-human-rights-mining-areas-eastern-drc/.

[9] U.N. Security Council, “Interim report of the Group of Experts on the DRC,” S/2010/252, para. 77, p.17, May 24, 2010, available at http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2010/252.

[10] Steven Spittaels, Ken Matthysen, Yannick Weyns, Filip Hilgert and Anna Bulzomi, “Analysis of the interactive map of artisanal mining areas in Eastern DR Congo: May 2014 update” (Antwerp: International Peace Information Service, May 2014), available at http://ipisresearch.be/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/20141031-Promines_analysis.pdf.

[11] Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition and Global eSustainability Initiative, “Conflict-Free Smelter Program Indicators,” available at http://www.conflictfreesourcing.org/members/active-and-compliant-smelter-count/ (last accessed January 29, 2016).

[12] International Conference on the Great Lakes Region Mineral Certification Scheme, “ICGLR Regional Certification Mechanism (RCM) Certification Manual,” available at http://www.oecd.org/investment/mne/49111368.pdf (last accessed August 2015).

[13] Uwe Naeher and Yasmine Nzuma, “Summary of Joint Missions and CTC Mine Site Audits in Eastern DRC,” Federal Bureau of Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), Kinshasa, June 2015.

[14]  Fidel Bafilemba, Timo Mueller, and Sasha Lezhnev, “The Impact of Dodd-Frank and Conflict Minerals Reforms on Eastern Congo’s Conflict,” endnote 5, p. 20 (Washington: The Enough Project, June 2014), available at http://www.enoughproject.org/reports/impact-dodd-frank-and-conflict-minerals-reforms-eastern-congo’s-war.

[15] Fidel Bafilemba and Sasha Lezhnev, “Congo’s Conflict Gold Rush: Bringing gold into the legal trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” pp 15-17 (Washington: The Enough Project, April 2015), available at http://www.enoughproject.org/reports/congo%E2%80%99s-conflict-gold-rush; Holly Dranginis, “Doing Good, while Doing Well: Is There a Win-Win Formula for Investing Responsibly in Congo’s Minerals Sector?” pp. 5, 7 (Washington: The Enough Project, July 2014), available at http://www.enoughproject.org/reports/doing-good-while-doing-well.

[16] Conflict Minerals Trade Act, H.R.4128 111th Congress (2009-2010), section 5, “Sense of Congress on Assistance for Affected Communities and Sustainable Livelihoods,” available at https://www.congress.gov/bill/111th-congress/house-bill/4128/text?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22conflict+minerals+trade+act%22%5D%7D.

[17] The Enough Project Team and the Grassroots Reconciliation Group, “A Comprehensive Approach to Congo’s Conflict Minerals”; John Prendergast and Sasha Lezhnev, “Opinion: Electronics companies and consumers can help stop Congolese bloodshed,” San Jose Mercury News, July 28, 2009, available at http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_12931613; Enough Project, “Conflict Minerals: A Broader Push for Reform is Essential,” available at http://www.enoughproject.org/special-topics/conflict-minerals-broader-push-reform-essential.

[18] Panzi Foundation, “Statement from Dr. Denis Mukwege: EU Vote is a Victory for Human Rights,” May 20, 2015, available at http://www.panzifoundation.org/news/dr-mukwege-statement-eu-conflict-minerals-vote.

[19] “Open Letter: Conflict Minerals: A Broader Push for Reform is Essential,” October 30, 2014, available at http://www.enoughproject.org/files/OpenLetterConflictMinerals_October_2014.pdf.

Eastern Congo

Over 5.4 million dead. Over 2 million displaced. Congo is home to the deadliest conflict since World War II.

The war in eastern Congo began in the early 1990s and continues to this day. It has encompassed two international wars—from 1996 to 1997 and 1998 to 2003—and multiple invasions from neighboring countries, with combatants from many armed groups, both foreign and domestic. While Congo has abundant natural resources, it is also the world’s poorest country per capita, according to the United Nations. Congo is also home to the largest and most expensive U.N. peacekeeping mission in the world, MONUSCO, which has more than 20,000 personnel and an annual budget of $1.4 billion. The eastern part of the country is plagued by instability, as militias continue to wreak havoc on the population. Meanwhile, the conflict gets very little coverage by the international media.

The conflict in Congo is notorious for serious violations of human rights, including violence against women and the use of child soldiers. Since 1996 the International Rescue Committee has calculated that approximately 5.4 million people have died from war-related causes. In 2012 Congo ranked lowest on the United Nations Human Development Index.

Armed GroupsArmed Groups

Armed groups wreak havoc in eastern Congo by terrorizing communities and fighting for power and access to mineral resources. Read More

Conflict MineralsConflict Minerals

Armed groups and Congolese military use profits from trading in conflict minerals to self-finance campaigns of brutal violence against civilians. Read More

Justice and AccountabilityJustice and Accountability

Congo needs a system of justice and accountability by which perpetrators of atrocity crimes are caught, tried, and punished for their crimes. Read More

Security Sector ReformSecurity Sector Reform

Congolese security forces pose a significant threat to civilians. In eastern Congo, they commit murder and rape, and carry out torture and extortion. Read More

Congolese WomanSexual Violence

Every day, women and girls face threats from armed militias, the military, and even the police who are responsible for protecting them. Read More

Sustaining LivelihoodsSustaining Livelihoods

As Congo's mining industry transitions from conflict minerals trade to legitimate business, miners need help transitioning to other sustainable sources of livelihood. Read More

 

Help end the crisis in eastern Congo: Take action now. 

Stay updated on Eastern Congo: Read the latest reports.

Boom Town: What happened when Wall Street reform came to Congo’s frontier mining towns

Rubaya town, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo: Holly Dranginis / Enough P

On February 11, Enough published a new piece on the impact Dodd-Frank Section 1502 has had on some of Congo's mining communities, based on field interviews from a recent trip to eastern Congo.  Read More »

Sen. Markey urges strong U.S. policy, including targeted sanctions, in support of timely, free, and fair Congolese Elections

On Thursday, February 4, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, expressing deep concern over, and urging strong action in response to, delayed Presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo).  Read More »

Student Leads Wisconsin School District to Go “Conflict-Free” as International Movement Gathers Steam in 2015

Date: 
Dec 17, 2015

From high schools and college campuses to cities and states, the “Conflict-Free” movement continued to expand this year.

Spurred by the activism of a high school student, the latest resolution by a Wisconsin school district adds another victory in an international campaign working to ensure that laptops, cell phones, and other popular consumer products are not connected to killing, child abductions, or sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Most recently, Ellen Bresnick, a high school junior, led efforts spurring her Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District to unanimously adopt a resolution calling on electronics and other industries to take the necessary due diligence measures to ensure that the minerals in their products contribute to peace and sustainable livelihoods in the DRC.

Earlier this year, activists and policymakers celebrated the Portland City Council’s vote to enact a conflict-free policy for the city. Portland’s new policy affects cellular devices and other key communication equipment purchased by the city. 

Including the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, 20 school institutions have passed resolutions that call on companies to source conflict-free minerals from the DRC for their products. The public school district based in Dane County, Wisconsin, represents six elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school, and one alternative senior high school.

More details:

  • By encouraging university officials and stakeholders, both of whom are large purchasers of electronics and powerful spokespersons, to commit to measures that pressure electronics companies to responsibly invest in Congo's minerals sector, students from the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative (CFCI) are voicing the demand for conflict-free products from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
  • Students from 175 schools in the U.S. and internationally have participated in CFCI
  • Five U.S. cities and one U.K. city have passed conflict-free procurement resolutions
  • Two U.S. states (CA & MD) have passed conflict-free procurement resolutions
  • One State Bar Association (Minnesota) has passed a conflict-free procurement resolution

 

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 CITIES and CONFLICT-FREE CAMPUS INITIATIVE
Initiatives of the Enough Project’s “Raise Hope for Congo” campaign, the Conflict-Free Cities and Conflict-Free Campus Initiative (CFCI) draw on the power of student leadership and activism to help support peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. By encouraging university officials, local governments, and other stakeholders - large purchasers of electronics and powerful spokespersons - to commit to measures that pressure electronics companies to responsibly invest in the minerals sector, consumers 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 activists to lead the conflict-free movement. Join us: www.conflictfreecampus.org

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

Syndicate content