Thursday, July 15, 2010

Incredible Victory for making supply chains of "conflict minerals" transparent!

Dear Friends,

Your efforts to bring peace to Congo are paying off!

Please take a moment to read the latest email from Enough Project describing the recent victory Congo activists have had in making the supply chair of "conflict minerals" transparent. Included in the Wall Street Reform bill just passed by Congress is a provision that requires companies to disclose their source of supply for these minerals, with the intention that doing so will reduce profits that support terrorism in Congo, in much the same way that making "blood diamonds" transparent cut off funds that supported the war in Sierra Leon.

John Predergast, co-Founder of Enough Project, writes:

 Today, the world moved a step closer to ensuring that the supply chains for our laptops and cell phones do not finance violence in eastern Congo. Today, human rights activists, American consumers, and the people of Congo won an incredible victory. Congress passed the Wall Street reform bill with the inclusion of a key provision on conflict minerals which will require companies to disclose whether they source conflict minerals from Congo or neighboring countries, and require companies to report on steps taken to exclude conflict sources from their supply chains, backed by independent audits.

The growing movement for Congo across America should be very proud of this impressive victory. Activists and concerned consumers from communities across the country came together with one voice and told Congress we demand strong legislation that will put us on the path to ending one of the deadliest conflicts in modern history. You overran the Facebook pages of elected officials and electronics companies, followed up with phone calls, wrote letters and emails to their offices, met face-to-face with your representatives, and called on industry leaders to clean up their supply chain. These are just some examples of the creative advocacy that has helped elevate the issue of conflict minerals to reach today’s tipping point. Senators Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Reps. Jim McDermott (D-WA), Howard Berman (D-CA), and Barney Frank (D-MA), along with many other upstanding members of Congress, deserve special praise for leading this battle over the past two years.

From the day President Obama signs the bill, the Securities and Exchange Commission will have nine months to develop regulations implementing the new law. It will be up to all of us to ensure that these regulations are as strong as possible.

This legislation is a piece of the broader solution. We now have to turn our attention from the legislative branch of our government to the executive branch, to ensure that the Obama administration helps lead an international effort to create what we call a "trace, audit, and certify" regime to ensure that the raw materials that go into our cell phones and laptops are not fueling conflict.

You really did something meaningful here. Take a week off. We still have work to do, but we need to appreciate this victory. We will be coming back to you with ideas of how you can continue to be involved in shaping the actions our government takes and the practices our electronics companies utilize in sourcing the minerals that power all of our electronics products. Peace in Congo is possible. We just took one important step today on that road to a better future in Congo.

Thank you for your activism.