October 29, 2010
"DF Title XV -- Specialized Disclosures"
I live in Kinshasa, the capital city of Democratic Republic of Congo. I work with humanitarian aid projects in North and South Kivu. I have seen the struggles of families who are constantly displaced by militia groups foraging for food and protecting mining areas for their generals to grow rich on. I have seen the atrocities committed against women and children because of the madness that comes from poor people being forced to pillage their own country to supply materials for greedy leaders and uninformed consumers around the world.
I think this law is a good start on a long, difficult road toward greater transparency and awareness among corporate buyers and the consumers they supply. It must be applied seriously, with firm commitment to insisting on honest reporting.
The new law requires companies to disclose "due diligence on the source" of conflict minerals originating in the DRC. 15 U.S.C. 78m (p)(1)(A)(i). Due diligence on the source of these minerals must be defined to include a description of efforts to monitor the source of the supply chain for forms of modern slavery and other extreme violations of human rights.
It may be difficult for companies to find their way through the many middle-managers of the chain, but it is not hard to see the source of supply and the people who suffer there.
Best wishes for stringent compliance.