On February 13, my colleague and I returned from a three week research trip in DRC on the effect of Dodd-Frank 1502, specifically on artisanal miners. We visited the Mukera gold mine located in Fizi Territory/South Kivu province and held a town hall meeting with artisanal miners and leaders of the community. We also met with civil society leaders and artisanal miners in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province. They asked us to deliver their message to US Congress and others who have been vocal on their behalf.
The people of Congo would like to know who would benefit from a prolonged phase-in period, suggested by opponents of Dodd-Frank 1502, before the full disclosure mandated by Dodd-Frank 1502 law comes into effect? If local people had a vote, would they choose to allow armed groups to continue having easy access to cash and wage wars against them? Why should we believe that if the SEC released tougher rules it would drive companies to other countries? If tougher rules can bring peace, which is the intent of the law, why should we accept anything less? Finally, for the last 16 years of war in Congo, mineral trade has been profitable to multinational corporations and armed groups. Currently US tax payers contribute a large portion of the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC, in addition to USAID relief and other programs financed by the US government. Tougher rules can save US tax payers money, force profitable companies to pay for compliance and allow Congolese people to get what their resources are worth.
Watch Congresswoman Waters’ remarks here