- A Congolese tin miner sifts through ground rocks to separate out the cassiterite, in the town of Nyabibwe, eastern Congo, a once bustling outpost fueled by artisanal cassiterite mining.
- AP Photo/Marc Hofer
A US appeals court determined on Monday that a US Securities and Exchange Commission rule compelling public companies to disclose whether or not their products contain “conflict minerals” is a violation of their free speech rights.
The rule, Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill, has been controversial from its inception. It’s intent is to track where minerals that appear in everyday electronics, such as cell phones, are fueling conflict and supporting armed groups. The corporations that extract the minerals say the new rules place an undue burden on their work and violate their rights.
The court partially agreed. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules were not entirely struck down by the ruling. It does represent a minor set-back for the advocates who have campaigned for transparency in the mining sector in conflict-affected countries. The real losers are the corporate lobby groups that brought forward the lawsuit.
“At the end of the day this is a huge loss for the National Association of Manufacturers,” said Laura Seay, assistant professor of Government at Colby College, to Humanosphere. ”They still have to file through the SEC whether their supply chains were audited and free of conflict minerals. What has changed is that these companies do not have to disclose to their investors whether or not they are using conflict free minerals. ”
The Enough Project, a Washington DC-based advocacy group who took an active role in crafting and campaigning for 1502, called the ruling a ‘step backward for atrocity prevention.”
- Rodgers, JD Stier of the Enough Project, Chriqui and Mulumba
Aaron Rodgers saved the season for the Green Bay Packers in a must-win game against the Bears. He will step on to the famed frozen tundra of Lambeau Field against rival San Francisco 49ers with the hope of extending the season a bit longer.
When the NFL season comes to an end, whether through a Super Bowl win or a playoff loss, one of the game’s best players will continue a different sort of drive. Rodgers wants people to know about the atrocities committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and what can be done to weaken the rebel groups in the country.
His participation garnered the attention of ThinkProgress, Politico and even ESPN.
It all started with a conversation with a famous actress involved in the campaign, Emmanuelle Chriqui, and a feeling of emptiness after winning the Super Bowl in 2011.
The long journey through the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Section 1502 in the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act has come to an end. A 3-2 vote adopted the provision that will force mining companies to detail their operations in conflict regions.
For consumers, this means that large electronics companies will be put on the spot to show that they are sourcing their minerals from conflict-free sources. The section has elicited a very strong debate and neither side was very happy with the final decision on Wednesday.
Supporters of the bill say it is a way to reduce the power of armed militias in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. If companies are unable to trade in conflict regions the areas will be forces to make changes in order to enjoy the benefits of international mineral trade. The decline in power will provide more safety for the people who have been brutalized for years.