Yesterday, Representatives Jim McDermott (D-WA), Frank Wolf (R-VA), and Barney Frank (D-MA), introduced the Conflict Minerals Trade Act (H.R. 4128). If passed into law, the bill would help increase transparency in industries – i.e. the electronics industry – that are major consumers of minerals whose illegal trade is fueling ongoing conflict in eastern DR Congo. Among other measures, the bill would require companies to produce independent audits certifying these minerals as “conflict minerals” or “conflict-free minerals” when they are imported into the United States, increasing transparency for consumers and creating incentives for end-user companies to take steps toward breaking the link between the illegal mineral trade and human rights violations in DRC.
For more information, check out the ENOUGH Project’s blog as well as this joint statement from the ENOUGH Project, Genocide Intervention Network, Human Rights Watch, World Vision, Global Witness, and others in support of H.R. 4128.
H.R. 4128 comes in addition to the Congo Conflict Minerals Act (S. 891) in the Senate, which promotes transparency by requiring companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges to disclose information about the origin of their mineral supplies. While S. 891 still needs to be strengthened (see this summary for more information), the existence of legislation tackling conflict minerals in Congo provides an exciting opportunity for advocates to make a difference.
To take action now, contact your representative and ask him or her to co-sponsor H.R. 4128. If you lobbied your representative on the Pledge2Protect Lobby Day, this is a great opportunity to follow up with his or her office!
You can also contact your senator and ask him or her to co-sponsor S. 891 and support the inclusion of an independent audit requirement for companies to make it even stronger. Click here to see if your senator is already a co-sponsor.