Both House and Senate conflict minerals bills continued to pick up momentum in the last two months, with the addition of one cosponsor to the House bill and four to the Senate’s.
From the House side, Rep. Jim Marshall (D-GA) gave his support to the Conflict Minerals Trade Act, while the following four senators became cosponsors of the Senate’s Congo Conflict Minerals Act:
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA)
Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-CT)
The Conflict Minerals Trade Act, or H.R. 4128, and the Congo Conflict Minerals Act, or S. 891, offer a powerful solution to ensure the mineral trade in eastern Congo does not continue to fuel the world’s bloodiest conflict in the last 60 years. Introduced by Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Russ Feingold (D-WI) in the Senate, and Representatives Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Frank Wolf (R-VA) in the House, the two bills would bring accountability and transparency to the illicit trade of conflict minerals–tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold.
These minerals are exported from the Congo and used as components for electronics products like cell phones and MP3 players that we, as consumers, use every day. Tragically, this trade finances rebel groups in eastern Congo that continue to perpetrate murder, rape, and torture against local populations. As a direct result of this violence, over five million lives have been lost.
It’s time to end the widespread human rights abuses occurring in Congo by telling Congress that enough is enough. Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121, ask for your member, and urge him/her to support this important legislation. You can also send an email to the 21 largest electronics companies to tell them that if they make conflict-free products, you’ll buy them.
If you want to learn more, click here to find out the latest about the conflict in Congo.
Photo: Tin ore. (Sasha Lezhnev/ Grassroots Reconciliation Group)