The conflict minerals bill in the House of Representatives is steadily picking up supporters. Four more congressmen recently signed on as co-sponsors, showing their support for ending violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo that is in part perpetuated by illicit trade in Congo’s mineral rich eastern region. The newest supporters of the bill, who bring the total number of co-sponsors up to 30, include:
Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC)
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY)
Rep. Edward Royce (R-CA)
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA)
The legislation, introduced last year by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) offers a powerful system that would make it more difficult for armed groups to exploit the mineral trade in eastern Congo and use the spoils to continue fighting the world’s bloodiest conflict in the last 60 years. The conflict minerals bill would bring transparency to the multi-million dollar trade, which funds the armed groups that terrorize Congo’s civilian populations. The minerals – tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold – exported from Congo eventually find their way into components of consumer electronics products like cell phones and MP3 players. To date, over five million people have died as a result of this violence.
The good news is we, as both consumers and constituents, have an historic opportunity to help end the murder, rape, and torture occurring in Congo. Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121, ask for your representative, and urge him/her to support this important legislation. Through Enough’s RAISE Hope for Congo campaign, 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.
Photo: Gold in the palm of a miner (Grassroots Reconciliation Group/Sasha Lezhnev)