We were already ecstatic when both the House and the Senate voted in favor of a Wall Street Reform bill that included strong provisions requiring companies that use minerals from Congo to be more transparent. But now that President Obama has signed that bill into law, we can really celebrate. Companies that use minerals from the Congo in their products – like our blackberries, computers, digital cameras… – will now be forced to disclose to the Securities and Exchange Commission the steps they’re taking to ensure they aren’t using minerals from the Congo that fuel human rights abuses.
While this is by no means a fix to all of Congo’s problems, it is a crucial first step in breaking the link between the minerals trade and the human rights violations it fuels. In the coming months, we will be closely monitoring how that legislation is being implemented, to ensure that it doesn’t get forgotten amongst the many other regulations and rules that will come out of the Wall Street Reform bill.
Between today’s vote in the House in favor of the Tribal Law and Order Act, front-page news coverage of Congo in the Washington Post and the signing into law of the conflict minerals legislation by President Obama, this is a great day for human rights.
Many thanks to all of you who took action. Congress supported this legislation because of you – because you let them know that you care about the people of Congo.