Financial Reform, though weakened, has passed. In it, there is a provision requiring companies to report on what they are doing to assure that the metals they use in their products are not financing violence in the eastern Congo, which has been said to be the deadliest conflict since the World War II, with the most violent cases of sexual abuse.
Remember the movie, Blood Diamonds, where Leo is smuggling a rare jewel from a corrupt and war torn country? The situation in the Congo is the same, but with minerals. These minerals are used in our cell phones, TVs, DVDs,etc. Our appetite for the newer, bigger, better technologies plays a direct role.
So, how will the Financial Reform Bill help? From Catholics Confront Global Poverty: “[The bill] will also allow companies to label goods as “conflict mineral-free” and directs the U.S. government to develop a strategy that addresses the links between human rights abuses and minerals from the Congo, and the products that we use”.
Another benefit is an application that applies beyond the Congo. A provision, often known as “Say What You Pay” was included in the bill. This “…requires companies to disclose the payments they make to foreign governments for the natural resources they extract. This greater transparency will help local communities to hold their governments accountable for how the income generated by natural resources is used to benefit the common good in their countries”.
What can you do- lots!
Take the time to see this 4 minute video on the Congo http://enoughproject.com/conflict_areas . Be an informed citizen and consumer.
Take some 30 seconds to complete these actions to make a difference: http://enoughproject.com/take_action
And don’t miss the great video “I’m a Mac I’m a PC” on conflict minerals- http://www.raisehopeforcongo.org/news/mac-pc
Once we know, we can make a difference.