Advocacy, Catholics Confront Global Poverty

Congress Considers How to Address ‘Conflict Minerals’

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is blessed with vast mineral resources including coltan, a critical component for the production of cell phones, laptops, and other electronics.  Instead of fostering human development, however, the extraction of this and other minerals is fueling instability, displacement, conflict, and sexual violence in the Eastern DRC. Armed groups are fighting for control over the lucrative mines and mineral trade routes. Ending the violence hinges on reducing the ability of armed groups to finance their activities with these illicitly mined “conflict minerals”.

The Conflict Minerals Trade Act (H.R. 4128) seeks to do just that. It would require companies to provide more information about where the minerals they are purchasing come from. On-going documentation of the links between mining and human rights violations in the DRC, including maps of mines and mineral trading routes that finance conflict, would also be required. In addition, it promotes more humanitarian and development assistance for affected communities in the DRC.

As noted in a letter to the Ways and Means Committee, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) believe that passage of H.R.4128 would be a key step towards reducing violence in the Eastern Congo and thus improve the lives of millions of people there.

The bill recently passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee and will soon be considered by the Ways and Means Committee.

Urge your members of Congress to help end the cycle of violence in Eastern DRC by supporting the Conflict Minerals Trade Act (H.R. 4128) now.

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