Signers Include Congolese Civil Society Leaders, Former Ambassadors, Experts
30 October 2014 — An open letter published today calls for comprehensive action by the U.S. and European governments, United Nations, governments in the Great Lakes region, electronics, metals, and jewelry corporations, and the international community to bolster the impacts of Dodd-Frank “conflict minerals” regulations. Signers to the letter, “Conflict Minerals: A Broader Push for Reform is Essential,” include Congolese civil society groups and leaders, former ambassadors, policy experts, and human rights organizations.
Signatories call for further reforms and comprehensive measures toward sustainable peace and to reduce the illicit mining and smuggling of precious minerals that have fueled armed conflict and mass atrocities in Congo and the Great Lakes region of Africa. Key actions called for include increased governance reforms in the region's mining sector and other democratic reforms, expansion of programs to protect and support artisanal mining communities, and increased transparency in minerals due diligence programs. The aim of these reforms would be to speed up the development of a responsible minerals trade that improves the livelihoods of Congolese communities.
Executive Director of Strong Roots Congo, and letter signatory, Dominique Bikaba said, "Eastern Congo still has a long road to sustainable peace, but Dodd-Frank, along with heroic efforts by local advocates, in-region governments, and companies has made it possible to start building a responsible, conflict-free minerals trade in Congo. What remains is to rebuild the damage created by illegal mining activities, including the destruction of protected areas and protected species."
Enough Project Congo-based Field Researcher Fidel Bafilemba said: "Many Congolese communities feel safer today because of broad efforts to clean up and reform the minerals trade in Congo and the Great Lakes. Now we need our regional governments to deliver on promises to help make the conflict-free vision a reality.”
Janvier Murairi, Coordinator of Development Group of Peasant Initiatives (ASSODIP), based in Goma, DRC, said: "Armed groups no longer have a free pass to profit by committing brutal acts of terror and selling plundered minerals on the international market. This was the status quo before Dodd-Frank."
Bennett Freeman, Calvert Investments Senior Vice President said: "For the first time, there is hope for interrupting the revenue streams that keep Congo's brutal armed groups in business. Dodd-Frank and important cross-sector efforts are improving previously under-informed business practices and shining a light on shadowy supply chains. Dodd-Frank is not a panacea. More concerted efforts by the US government, corporate stakeholders, advocacy groups and in- region governments are critical for ensuring that ordinary citizens and affected mining communities can benefit from their country's natural resources through viable markets."
Link to the open letter: http://eno.ug/1thUt6c
For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Communications Director, +1 310-717-0606, gh@enoughproject
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, Central African Republic, 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: www.enoughproject.org.