On May 10, the International Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee of the Financial Services Committee of the US House of Representatives held a hearing entitled “The Costs and Consequences of Dodd-Frank Section 1502: Impacts on America and the Congo”. Since the signing into law in 2010 of Dodd-Frank Wall Street Financial Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Securities and Exchange Commission has not released the rules which will govern section 1520, a provision on imports of conflict minerals from the war zone in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
During the hearing, Representatives Carolyn McCarthy, NY, Gwen Moore, WI, David Scott, GA, Jim McDermott, WA and André Carson, IN echoed these words of Representative Waters (watch video here): “American investors have a right to know if their money is being used to support rape, murder, human trafficking, or other gross violations of basic human rights.” The subcommittee Chairman, Representative Gary G. Miller, CA questioned the effectiveness of Dodd-Frank 1502, clearly taking the side of the companies that have for 16 years profited from the illicit conflict mineral trade that has been financing the conflict in eastern Congo.
This hearing happened eight days after Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law the Maryland State Procurement and Congo Conflict Minerals Bill, which prohibits the state of Maryland to conduct business with companies that fail to comply with Dodd-Frank 1502. Maryland is the second State after California to pass such legislation and currently Massachusetts is considering a similar legislation. Also, in October of 2011, the City of St. Petersburg in Pennsylvania passed a resolution in favor of products free of Congo Conflict Minerals.
It is imperative that the Securities and Exchange Commission release strong rules. In a statement submitted for the record to the subcommittee, Africa Faith and Justice Network stated that “While all involved in the conflict mineral trade are making a lot of money, unfortunately, the Congolese people are paying the highest price. They suffer loss of life, rape, displacement, impoverishment, instability, the plundering of their resources and much more. Likewise, US tax payers are paying the bills for peacekeeping, relief and other kinds of programs, both directly and through the UN.” Read the full statement here
Learn more here