Representative Huizenga’s Bill H.R. 4248 – a Safety Threat and a Financial Gift to Rebel Groups in D.R. Congo

Representative Huizenga’s Bill H.R. 4248 – a Safety Threat and a Financial Gift to Rebel Groups in D.R. Congo

Representative Bill Huizenga (R-MI) has made it one of his legislative priorities to reopen the cash flow to rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) which is currently closed due to regulations by section 1502 (Conflict Mineral) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Representative Huizenga‘s bill “H.R.4248 – To amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to repeal certain disclosure requirements related to conflict minerals, and for other purposes” aims only at repealing Dodd-Frank 1502. Dodd-Frank 1502 severely cut most rebel groups’ cash flow which was generated through mineral trade. Today there are more mines that are conflict-free, and the control measures set forward by the rules governing Dodd-Frank 1502 have discouraged rebel groups from getting back in the mining business because they know they would not easily find a market for the minerals.

There have been and continue to be ongoing efforts to repeal Dodd-Frank 1502. Currently, section 862 of H.R. 10- the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017 which passed the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate in June repeals Dodd-Frank 1502. The Treasury Department in its report to President Trump in October recommended defunding 1502 and expressed support for the repeal of Dodd-Frank 1502 as stipulated in H.R. 10.

Safety Implications on Repeal of Dodd-Frank 1502

Representative Huizenga‘s bill and similar legislative efforts greatly undermine the safety of many Congolese while satisfying the rest of the world’s demand for these natural resources from the DRC – gold, tin, tantalum, and tungsten. This effort harkens back to the days of colonialism when Africa was just a place where colonial powers went to usurp resources. Furthermore, any repeal or defunding of Dodd-Frank 1502 takes away the rights of Americans – investors and consumers – and all other consumers of electronics worldwide to know whether the money they spend on electronics is being used to support armed conflicts, rebel groups, rape, murder, human trafficking, or other despicable human rights violations in the DRC and neighboring nations.

Taking into Consideration the Current Political Situation in the DRC

Why do Representative Huizenga and his supporters in Congress want to empower criminals? It is crucial not to enable rebel groups to access financing opportunities, especially from mineral trade, for several reasons. Chief among them is the current political crisis whereby DRC’s President Joseph Kabila’s mandate expired last year, yet he remains in power under a contested political agreement which is set to expired this December. Already rebel groups have intensified their criminal activities: killing, raping, destroying property, and kidnapping for ransom. This has become the new norm in a huge ungoverned territory of North Kivu and South Kivu Provinces in eastern DRC where some of these mines are located. Similarly, Representative Huizenga, the author of the bill H.R 4248, does not care that more than the whole population of the state of Colorado (5 million) is believed to have died from war and war-related causes since 1996, and rebel groups still are causing death and destruction in many parts of the D.R. Congo.

Mobilize to Defend Dodd-Frank 1502

We ask American citizens to call on their members of Congress to reject any repeal or defunding of Dodd-Frank 1502. It is because we mobilized before that Dodd-Frank 1502 became law. The time is now. If you want to get involved, please send an email to Africa Faith & Justice Network’s Policy Analyst Mr. Bahati at bahati@afjn.org for more details. It is important to note that before and after Dodd-Frank became law, it was debated in Congress and the courtroom. On July 23, 2013, the court ruled in favor of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) final rules which govern this law against the National Association of Manufacturers, Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable.

In the days when no one was paying attention to the killing of the Congolese people, in part because of the the natural resources the land provided, the American people moved and pushed Congress to pass the conflict mineral provision seven years ago. It is now time to defend it so that it may remain the law of the land.

by Jacques Bahati

 

 

 

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