Just a day after President Obama signed into law legislation that will demand U.S. companies to be transparent about the origins of certain minerals in their products, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reaffirmed the U.S.’s support and efforts toward ending the conflict minerals trade, one that is contributing to ongoing violence and atrocities in eastern Congo. The secretary said of the situation in Congo:
“[T]he trade in ‘conflict minerals’…has funded a cycle of conflict there that has left more than 5 million people dead since 1998, displaced countless more, and spawned an epidemic of sexual and gender-based violence.”
The statement, a brief summary of the U.S.’s “holistic strategy” toward the deadly minerals trade since the issue hit Clinton’s agenda just a year ago, serves as a reminder of the long road ahead in fully ending the trade—one that will depend on the efforts of the Congolese government, neighboring governments, and the U.N. Security Council. It’s also evidence of the influence of the Congo advocacy movement, which rallied behind the conflict minerals legislation and pushed for Congress to act despite a challenging legislative climate.