Subject: File No.
From: Avni Bhalakia
Affiliation: MD

February 24, 2017

As someone who has worked in one of the poorest parts of the world, I urge you to consider the effect of conflict minerals on civil wars and violence. Militias and warlords have exploited resources (from diamonds to minerals) all over the world and committed heinous acts of violence and modern-day slavery for your average poor citizen of these countries. This is about poverty for your average citizen from the Congo. They need a way out of poverty, and can only achieve that if the government is not corrupt or profiting off conflict minerals. Until corporations and consumers and governments make a stand, the corrupt leaders in the Congo's government can get rich and have no incentive to put an end to these practices. This is about poverty for your average citizen from the Congo. They need a way out of poverty that can only be achieved through their government investing in them in legal and peaceful ways.

The washington Post reported on this and said:

We have seen real change on the ground, said Karen Hayes, senior director at Pact, a nongovernmental group that coordinates verification efforts in Congo.

Compliance costs have been a fraction of original estimates. And Congos exports of the four minerals covered by U.S. law have grown in recent years, indicating there is a market for certified minerals.

To stop now would be to greatly undermine the peace and security in Congo, said Sasha Lezhnev, associate director of policy at the Enough Project, an advocacy group.

Several African groups, including the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and a collection of 41 Congolese civil society organizations, recently announced their support for the conflict minerals law.

As a consumer and US citizen, I support this bill. Corporations, who make billions in profit annually, should not make money through corruption and civil war, and they have the financially resources to source their minerals ethically.