Last anniversary Dr. Denis Mukwege won the Nobel Peace Prize for his assignment on gender-based abandon in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This short video interview describes what I saw back I went to DRC in 2011 to analysis the newly-enacted Dodd-Frank acknowledgment aphorism and to do the airing for a non-profit that teaches midwives agency to bear babies safely. For those alien with the legislation, U.S. issuers charge acknowledge the efforts they accept fabricated to clue and trace tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold from the DRC and nine surrounding countries. Rebels and warlords ascendancy abounding of the mines by authoritative the villages. DRC is one of the atomic nations in the apple per capita but has an estimated $25 abundance in mineral affluence (including 65% of the world’s cobalt). Armed militia use abduction and abandon as a weapon of war in allotment so that they ascendancy the mineral wealth.
The declared purpose of the Dodd-Frank aphorism was to advice end the abandon in DRC and to name and abashment companies that do not acknowledge or that cannot accredit that their appurtenances are DRC-conflict chargeless (although that labeling allocation of the law was addled bottomward on First Amendment grounds). I wrote a law analysis commodity in 2013 and co-filed an amicus abrupt during the action arguing that the law would not advice bodies on the ground. I accept additionally blogged here about legislation to end the rule, here about the EU’s adaptation of the rule, here about the differences amid the EU and US rule, and bisected a dozen times back 2013.
I had the account of affair Dr. Mukwege in 2011, who at the time did not abutment the battle minerals legislation. He has since endorsed such legislation for the EU. During our trip, we met dozens of women who had been raped, generally by gangs. On our way to meet midwives and survivors of a massacre, I saw bristles corpses of villagers lying in the street. They were collapsed by rebels the night before. I saw accouchement mining gold from a river with armed soldiers alone a few anxiety away. That cruise is the acumen that I study, write, and advise about business and animal rights. I had only been in academia for three weeks back I went to DRC, and I absitively that my compassionate of accumulation chains and accumulated babyminding from my accomplished centralized activity could advice others advance added applied solutions to awkward problems. I believed again and I accept now that application a accumulated babyminding acknowledgment to break a animal rights crisis is a awry and abridged solution. It depends on the acceptance that ample numbers of consumers will avoid companies that do not do abundant for animal rights.
What does the abstracts say about acquiescence with the rule? The General Accounting Office puts out a binding abode annually on the legislation and the accompaniment of disclosures. According to the 2018 report:
Similar to the above-mentioned 2 years, about all companies appropriate to conduct due diligence, as a aftereffect of their country-of-origin inquiries, appear accomplishing so. After administering due activity to actuate the antecedent and alternation of aegis of any battle minerals used, an estimated 37 percent of these companies appear in 2017 that they were able to actuate that their battle minerals came from covered countries or from atom or recycled sources, compared with 39 and 23 percent in 2016 and 2015, respectively. Four companies in GAO’s sample declared their articles “DRC conflict-free,” and of those, three included the appropriate Independent Private Sector Audit abode (IPSA), and one did not. In 2017, 16 companies filed an IPSA; 19 did so in 2016. (emphasis added).
But what about the aftereffect on affected activity and rape? The 2017 GAO Report indicated that in 2016, a abstraction in DRC estimated that 32 percent of women and 33 percent of men in these areas had been apparent to some anatomy of animal and gender-based abandon in their lifetime. Notably, aloof aftermost month, a amalgamation of Congolese civilian association organizations wrote the afterward to the United Nations gluttonous a country-wide ecology system:
… Armed groups and aegis armament accept attacked civilians in abounding genitalia of the country…Today, some 4.5 actor Congolese are displaced from their homes. Added than 100,000 Congolese accept fled away back January 2018, adopting the accident of added bounded instability… Since aboriginal this year, abandon agitated in assorted genitalia of northeastern Congo’s Ituri province, with alarming incidents of massacres, rapes, and decapitation. Armed groups launched baleful attacks on villages, killing array of civilians, torching hundreds of homes, and displacing an estimated 350,000 people. Armed groups and aegis armament in the Kivu ambit additionally abide to advance civilians. According to the Kivu Aegis Tracker, assailants, including accompaniment aegis forces, dead added than 580 civilians and abducted at atomic 940 others in North and South Kivu back January 2018. (emphasis added)
The U.S. government provides $500 actor in aid to the DRC and runs an app alleged Sweat and Toil for bodies who are absorbed in alienated appurtenances produced by exploited labor. As of today, DRC has seven appurtenances produced with arrant labor: azure (used in electric cars and corpuscle phones), copper, diamonds, and, not surprisingly, tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold- the four minerals adapted by Dodd-Frank. The app addendum that “for the additional year in a row, activity inspectors accept bootless to conduct any worksite inspections… and [the] government additionally afar as abounding as 2,360 accouchement from armed groups…[t]here were abundant letters of advancing accord amid associates of the [DRC] Armed Armament and non-state armed groups accepted for recruiting children… The Armed Armament agitated out extrajudicial killings of civilians including children, due to their perceived abutment or amalgamation with non-state armed groups. ..”
For these reasons, I abide to ask whether the battle minerals legislation has fabricated a aberration in the lives of the bodies on the ground. The EU, acquirements from Dodd-Frank’s flaws, has anesthetized its own legislation, which goes into aftereffect in 2021. The EU law applies aloft the Democratic Republic of Congo and defines battle areas as those in a accompaniment of armed conflict, or brittle post-conflict area, areas with anemic or absent babyminding and aegis such as bootless states, and any accompaniment with a boundless or analytical abuse of all-embracing law including animal rights abuses. Certain European Union importers will accept to analyze and abode the absolute abeyant risks affiliated to conflict-affected areas or high-risk areas during the due activity of their accumulation chains.
Notwithstanding the statistics above, abounding investors, NGOs, and added advocates accept the Dodd-Frank aphorism makes sense. A amalgamation of investors with 50 abundance account of assets beneath administration has pushed to accumulate the law in place. It’s no abruptness again that abounding issuers accept said that they would abide the due activity alike if the law were repealed. I agnosticism that will advice bodies in these countries, but the due activity does advice drive out inefficiencies and optimize accumulation chains.
Stay acquainted for my accessible commodity in UT’s business law journal, Transactions, area I will altercate how companies and accompaniment actors are application blockchain technology for due activity accompanying to animal rights. Blockchain will abbreviate costs and time for these acknowledgment requirements, but it apparently won’t stop the affected labor, exploitation, rapes, and massacres that abide in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (See here for a Fortune annual commodity with a abundant video discussing how and why companies are exploring blockchain’s uses in DRC). The blockchain technology won’t be the problem– it’s already actuality acclimated for archetype battle diamonds. The botheration is application the technology in a accompaniment with such lawlessness. This agency that blockchain will apparently advice companies, but not the bodies the laws are meant to protect.
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