Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), flanked by leaders from World Vision, the Enough Project, Global Witness, and the Information Technology Industry Council, unveiled legislation he will introduce in the U.S. House of Representatives today to help stop trade in conflict minerals that is sustaining a brutal war of unfathomable atrocities, especially against women, in the Congo. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) co-sponsored the bill. “It is within our power to make a meaningful difference,” Rep. Mcdermott said, “by shining the light of truth into the darkness that currently is the supply chain for minerals mined in war-ravaged Congo that can end up in consumer electronics and other products we use every day.” The Conflict Minerals Trade Act provides a pragmatic and practical approach. It commissions a map that will overlay areas of conflict with areas rich in mineral resources in the DRC, so refiners will know which mines are likely to fund conflict. The bill also requires importers of potential conflict goods to certify whether or not their imports contain conflict minerals and the United States Trade Representative (USTR) will report to Congress and the public which companies are importing goods containing conflict minerals. The legislation provides a two year period before implementation to enable industries to implement successfully, and it requires industry to use outside auditors to determine whether refiners are indeed conflict-free. “I intend the make the black market in conflict minerals transparent so that no one can hide behind ignorance, real or intentional,” McDermott said. “Under my legislation, the American people, and the world, will know when a company or industry is using conflict minerals and I think this knowledge will prove much more powerful than any weapon fired by those prosecuting this horrible war.” “We Each Have the Power to Help Stop War in the Congo”McDermott said the Congo’s vast natural resources include coltan, cassiterite, and wolframite as well as valuable derivatives, tantalum, tin, and tungsten. He said these minerals should be a source of prosperity and stability in the region, but have instead financed a war. “This bill can fire a shot that will be heard round the world,” McDermott said. The Conflict Minerals Trade Act will elevate the visibility of the world’s deadliest ongoing conflict and take further steps to stop the violence through our action in the Departments of State and Commerce. The legislation enjoys the support of a range of advocacy groups, humanitarian organizations, and industry leaders.
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