On July 23, 2013, the court ruled in favor of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) final rules which govern section 1502 of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act against the National Association of Manufacturers, Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable.
Section 1502 requires companies registered with the SEC to carry out due diligence and disclose whether or not their products contain conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and adjacent countries.
From the day this law was enacted in 2010 it has significantly reduced cash flow to rebel groups which fuel violence in eastern DRC. However, many corporations claimed that the financial burden to comply with the rules was too great. As evidenced by other large corporations voluntarily taking steps like following the OECD’s Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains or joining the Public-Private Alliance (PPA) for Responsible Minerals Trade (which AFJN is part of), the costs are not too high to remove blood from a supply chain.
Companies fighting these rules are focused on profit, regardless of the atrocities committed by the rebel groups financed by the mineral trade. We focus on how many lives can be saved by targeting rebels’ cash source. When the SEC was creating the rules, we asked that they make the rules as strong as possible. When lawsuits and other efforts in Congress threatened to repeal section 1502 we argued that they must empower the people’s choice for peace. Businesses must choose a little inconvenience over blind complicity in providing rebel groups with easy cash to buy guns.
This ruling is a victory for all of you who took time to spread the word, or call, write and visit your representatives and the SEC, urging them to stand by the Congolese people who are victims of the war and help to promote peace and security in the DRC.
With great satisfaction we invite you to look back and realize that your advocacy made a difference. Among the many letters sent to Congress and to the SEC (cited in the court case), in partnership with the Africa Faith and Justice Network, is one from 6th, 7th and 8th graders from Foothills school of Sciences and Arts in Idaho. Read it here. Our advocacy continues.