On Monday, the U.S. State Department confirmed reports that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, a war criminal indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and crimes against humanity, had applied for a U.S. visa with the intent of attending the U.N. General Assembly Meeting in New York next week. Read More »
While the recent 50th anniversary commemoration of the "March on Washington" to demand rights for African Americans focused attention on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s unfinished domestic agenda in the United States, Dr. King was also strongly committed to a global human rights movement, particularly related to Africa. Read More »
The U.S. was put in a difficult diplomatic position this week as ICC indictee and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir announced his intent to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York. An agreement between the U.S. and the UN legally requires the U.S. to issue Bashir a visa and facilitate his travel. Although it might seem like restrictive international laws have created this problem, some activists see law as also offering the solution. Read More »
WASHINGTON --- 25 Sudan experts, human rights groups, and leading voices on genocide prevention, including George Clooney, Don Cheadle, and Omer Ismail and John Prendergast of the Enough Project released a letter addressed to President Obama today, calling on the U.S. government to do everything possible to dissuade President Bashir from travelling to New York City for next week's U.N. meetings.
Don Cheadle, Co-Founder of Not on Our Watch, said:
"Each time that President Bashir is allowed to travel freely, without the threat of arrest, is another blow to accountability and justice for his victims. The legal issues involved in Bashir's travel to the U.N. are complicated, but we hope that the U.S. and other countries do everything in their power to prevent this trip."
Citing the 2007 Genocide Accountability Act, which allows for the prosecution of genocidaires who are in the United States, even if their crimes were committed abroad, the letter urges the administration to announce that it will open a criminal prosecution once Bashir lands. While the letter acknowledges that the U.S. is generally obliged to facilitate travel for all visiting dignitaries, since it plays host to the United Nations, it goes on to outline a number of other diplomatic steps that the administration could be taking to dissuade President Bashir from persisting with his travel plans.
John Prendergast, Co-Founder of the Enough Project, said:
"If Bashir ends up coming to the U.S. despite the administration's best efforts to convince him otherwise, all legal channels should be explored for prosecuting him under existing authority. His visit also highlights the deadly conflicts continuing to rage in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile regions of Sudan. President Obama should lead efforts at the U.N. General Assembly meetings to construct a credible and comprehensive peace process."
It is troubling that Sudan's president continues to travel around the world with impunity, notwithstanding a pending warrant for his arrest at the Hague. Now, he might even come to New York just as Sudan is facing some of the worst violence the region has seen in years. Human rights lawyers are investigating civil litigation to hold the Sudanese president accountable for his crimes and hope to serve him once he steps on U.S. soil. Meanwhile, activists are mobilizing on Capitol Hill, planning protests in New York City and warning Manhattan hotels against offering him accommodation.
The letter notes that if President Bashir attends next week's opening session at the U.N., it will be the first time that anyone who is wanted for genocide by the International Criminal Court has entered the country. It will also be President Bashir's first trip to the United States since 2006. Since then, at least 300,000 people have died in Sudan while millions more have been displaced from their homes.
# 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.
Today, the Enough Project along with the Responsible Sourcing Network released a report,"Expectations for Companies' Conflict Minerals Reporting", that articulates key reporting components that are important to socially responsible investors and rights groups who have been advocates for a clean minerals trade. Read More »
As companies prepare their first required reports on conflict mineral use to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Responsible Sourcing Network and the Enough Project released a report that sets expectations for the contents of the inaugural reports required by Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
By Darren Fenwick and Patricia Jurewicz | Sep 5, 2013
Investors and Human Rights Advocates Set Expectations for SEC Dodd-Frank Conflict Minerals Reports
As companies prepare their first required reports on conflict mineral use to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, key investors and human rights groups, have released a paper that sets expectations for the contents of the inaugural reports required by Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
"Expectations for Companies’ Conflict Minerals Reporting" describes the content that sustainable and responsible investors and human rights advocates expect to see in a company’s Specialized Disclosure Form and/or Conflict Minerals Report. These disclosures will include information on the use of minerals sourced from the Democratic Republic of the Congo or neighboring countries, where egregious human rights abuses linked to the mining industry have plagued the region for 15 years.
Patricia Jurewicz, Director of Responsible Sourcing Network and co-author of the paper, states:
“Investors would like to see their companies establish baselines the first year and specify the steps they are taking so we can then measure improvements in transparency and accountability reporting over time. Our paper provides a set of specific indicators that can be tracked to allow for comparability between annual reports.”
Both Responsible Sourcing Network and the Enough Project, authoring organizations of the paper, engaged with the SEC throughout the process of defining the reporting requirements for section 1502, which began in 2010.
Darren Fenwick, Senior Government Affairs Manager at the Enough Project and co-author of the paper states:
“Advocates for a clean minerals trade wish to understand how issuers, who are connected to the Congo through mineral sourcing, are addressing their connection to the conflict that has resulted in millions of deaths. Additionally, companies whose reports show compliance benefit from positive public sentiment and increased brand recognition.”
The paper details the expectations for companies’ successful reporting, including:
Constructing key elements of a vigorous company conflict minerals policy and steps for implementing a program
Metrics that companies should track to effectively determine their actions to accurately assess the origin of their minerals
Commitment to only using minerals from smelters that have been audited as conflict-free by a credible program such as the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative as they become available; and
Building a clean minerals trade by 1) Committing to sourcing conflict-free minerals from Congo and the surrounding region; and 2) Implementing OECD due diligence processes to determine if an issuers’ minerals are contributing to the conflict.
Stakeholders also encourage companies to take compliance beyond the 1502 reporting requirements to help create a peaceful and secure Congo by participating in diplomatic efforts and contributing to alternative livelihood projects in the region.
Responsible Sourcing Network (www.sourcingnetwork.org), a project of the nonprofit organization As You Sow (www.asyousow.org), is dedicated to ending human rights abuses and forced labor associated with the raw materials found in products we use every day. RSN builds responsible supply chain coalitions of diverse stakeholders to leverage their influence in the areas of conflict minerals from the Congo and forced labor in the cotton fields of Uzbekistan.
Enough Project (www.enoughproject.org) 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.