Editor's Note: The Massachusetts-based Congo Action Now group recently claimed some early success in their efforts to usher a new law through the Massachusetts legislature that would bolster the pending federal law on the use of conflict minerals from Congo. Activist and guest blogger Pat Aron writes about their initiative.
"You won't fight your war on my body any more!" These words from Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer prize-winning play "Ruined" are a call for an end to the war that has devastated the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for over 15 years, a war that is being waged on the bodies of women and children.
Earlier this month, the Enough Project joined Congo Action Now and other advocates at the Massachusetts State House in Boston to support legislation that will help curb the trade in conflict minerals that is financing the war. If passed, the Act Relative to Congo Conflict Minerals (H3982) would prohibit the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from contracting with companies that are not in compliance with Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Section 1502 requires any publicly traded company to report about the steps taken to trace the origin and supply chain of conflict minerals from Congo and surrounding countries. By providing direct financial incentives, H3982 will encourage companies to comply with the federal law.
As warring groups pursue mineral wealth, mass atrocities, including the epidemic of rape in eastern Congo, are directly connected to the minerals that we in the U.S. use every day in our cell phones and laptop computers. In the words of Enough's Chloe Christman during a hearing about the bill, "This connection allows the State of Massachusetts, as a market for many of these products, enormous leverage over processes that can lead to change."[view whole blog post ]