Recently, in the New York Times, David Aronson critized the Dodd-Frank Act’s 1502 section on “conflict minerals“ particularly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He blames the Congress to endanger or even destroy the livelihood of small-scale miners in the North Kivu region by an ongoing embargo of the minerals and to play into the hands of army integrated terror-militias which are exploiting the mines in a mafia-like way. Aronson’s article has caused at least as great a deal of controversy as the one on conflict minerals itself.
One of the best summarized responses to Aronson’s attack was penned by Jason Stearns in his Congo Siasa blog:
- The Dodd-Frank legislation in no way mandates or supports a real or de facto embargo on minerals exports from eastern Congo. It is important not to confuse the law itself and its perception.
- Aronson‘s reproach that the legislation is out-of-date, arguing that most Congolese rebel groups have been integrated into the Congolese army, does not accurately reflect the reality on the ground as at least a dozen rebel groups remain active in the Kivus and many derive considerable profits from mining.
- Aronson discounts the positive impacts of Dodd-Frank – like the Congolese army’s withdrawal from some of the largest mining areas and the declared ambition of some large multinational corporations (Malaysia Smelting Corp and Rajesh Industries) to invest in large-scale industrial mining in the Kivus as well as in certification and traceability initiatives.
- According to Stearns there is no general opposition of the Congolese against the Dodd-Frank legislation: a group of over 50 Congolese NGOs together with a dozen international ones supports the bill and urged for its rapid and thorough implementation.
- Joint efforts are underway to see how the Dodd-Frank and the OECD guidelines can be implemented, the financing of the armed groups be undermined and the livelihoods of the local miners and their communities be improved by transparent investments.
fairplanet therefore reinforces their strong support for the ENOUGH-project’s campaign “Raise Hope for Congo“. They explain the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act’s conflict-minerals section (here) and why they need your help to increase demand for conflict-free electronics products:
As a consumer, you can influence electronics industry leaders as they weigh whether or not to invest in making their supply chains transparent and producing verifiably conflict-free products. Tell companies that if they take conflict out of their products, you’ll buy them.
Follow this link and send an email to eighteen of the biggest electronics companies!
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