May 28, 2010
Catholic Relief Services Commends Senate for Acting On Congo Minerals
The U.S. Senate has taken an important step toward ensuring that minerals mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo are not funding the violence that has killed, injured and displaced millions there.
"This is a tremendous move in the right direction," said Catholic Relief Services president Ken Hackett. "Mining of these minerals has help fuel a war that has brought horrific violence to the people of the Congo, particularly its women. We hope that this act can be strengthened when members of the House and Senate negotiate its final version."
Passed as an amendment to the financial regulation bill, the legislation will require publicly traded companies that use specified minerals to file annual reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission certifying whether those minerals originated in Congo or neighboring countries.
The provision was backed by CRS and a number of other humanitarian organizations.
Among the minerals included in the reporting requirement are gold, coltan, which is used in cellphones, video games and other such devices, and cassiterite, a source of the tin used in a multitude of products. Too often the mines in the Eastern Congo that furnish these minerals are controlled by and fought over by armed groups.
Though not attached to its financial regulation bill, there is a House version of the Congo minerals act and the amendment is expected to be discussed in the conference committee.
"Companies that sell their products in the US can play a very important role in reducing the violence in the Congo" Hackett said. "We hope that out of these negotiations we can make sure that the legislation focuses as much as possible on the areas of conflict and that the information given to the SEC is accurate and transparent."
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Catholic Relief Services is the international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency provides assistance to people in more than 100 countries and territories based on need, regardless of race, nationality or creed. For more information, please visit www.crs.org or www.crsespanol.org.