Conflict Minerals Legislation Becomes Law

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.

Urgent Action Needed for Congo: Wall Street Reform Conferees Need to Hear From You

Over the past few months, your activism has helped us ensure that Congress would act on conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo. So it’s great news that House and Senate sponsors of the original bills have agreed on great language to be included in the Wall Street Reform bill. The language would ensure companies are subjected to audits and required to disclose where the minerals they use come from – helping stem the flow of conflict minerals from the DRC.

AI mission delegates being shown coltan and cassiterite, Tchonka, Shabunda territory, South Kivu province, eastern DRC, April 2009. Copyright Amnesty International

But companies are pushing back, putting pressure on conferees not to pass the bill. We need you to make your voice heard. Members of Congress need to hear from those of us who support bringing an end to conflict and human rights abuses in the DRC, not just from the companies who don’t want to have to change their ways.

So take our online action today to tell conferees you support the Congo conflict minerals amendment.  You can send them emails between now and Tuesday to make sure Congress does the right thing for the people of Congo.

And if you have extra time, you can also call their DC offices and talk to their foreign affairs staff directly. Or find them on Twitter or Facebook and help spread the word about Congo’s conflict minerals.