The Enough Project’s John Prendergast, and Sasha Lezhnev, of the Grassroots Reconciliation Group, have published an op-ed on CNN’s website lauding Congress’ recent progress on conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Prendergast and Lezhnev are optimistic about the impact of the conflict minerals legislation on the conflict resolution process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo:
By requiring that publicly listed manufacturers who use these minerals conduct independent audits of their supply chains, this legislation will help curb the conflict minerals trade.
Courageous members of Congress from both parties fought hard together with a coalition of faith-based organizations, women’s rights advocates and student groups for the past two years to enact this law, standing up for what is right and bravely battling against special-interest lobbyists.
Meanwhile, a debate over the conflict minerals legislation is taking place across the human rights and Congo-interest blogospheres. Andrew Sullivan, of the Daily Dish, aggregates the most recent posts here. Responding to the critiques of bloggers like Laura Seay, at Texas in Africa, Jason Stearns, at Congo Siasa, expresses his confidence in the legislation, as a preliminary step towards commercial accountability in the Congo:
Yes, I wish we could have greater engagement in strengthening the Congolese judiciary and police. I wish there could be meaningful land reform and that disputes over farming rights could be settled by expert mediators (UN Habitat is beginning to do this). I wish we could have transparent democratic institutions throughout the country. But none of those issues stand necessarily in contradiction with due diligence in the minerals trade. I can’t tell you how often I have been in meetings with officials at the State Department, insisting that they help in security sector reform and in paying attention to the return of Congolese Tutsi refugees. Nothing much came of that. Now that we have a chance to help promote meaningful reform in the minerals trade, I think we should seize the opportunity.
Read Stearns’ summary of the legislation here.