In response to reports that the President Trump is planning to issue an executive order targeting the US conflict minerals provision (also known as Section 1502 of Dodd-Frank) Carly Oboth, Policy Adviser at Global Witness, said:
‘Any executive action suspending the US conflict minerals rule would be a gift to predatory armed groups seeking to profit from Congo’s minerals as well as a gift to companies wanting to do business with the criminal and the corrupt.
“This law helps stop US companies funding conflict and human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo and surrounding countries. Suspending it will benefit secretive and corrupt business practices. Responsible business practices are starting to spread in eastern Congo. This action could reverse that progress.
“It is an abuse of power that the Trump Administration is claiming that the law should be suspended through a national security exemption intended for emergency purposes. Suspending this provision could actually undermine US national security.”
The conflict minerals law, known as Section 1502 of the Dodd Frank Act, aims to help stop mineral trading fuelling conflict in Central Africa by requiring companies to check whether they are funding conflict or human rights abuses through their purchases of minerals, including tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. These minerals are crucial parts of many products manufactured and sold in the US, from jewelry and airplanes to laptops and mobile phones.
For over a decade, Global Witness has exposed the role of minerals in fuelling conflict and human rights abuses in eastern Congo and played a leading role in securing passage of the conflict minerals provision.
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The Dodd Frank Act
In 2010, US Congress passed a landmark law requiring companies to determine if their products contain one or more of four minerals sourced from Congo or its neighbours.