Trump order on conflict minerals would send warlords carte blanche signal, say critics – by Joan Leishman (CBC News World – March 18, 2017)

Others say regulation poses financial burden and some easily circumvent rule in Democratic Republic of Congo

A battle involving some of America’s most powerful men and some of Africa’s most powerful warlords is being waged in Donald Trump’s White House. At stake are billions of dollars, child labour, sexual violence, and the precious minerals that make our tech gadgets work.

Soon after Trump took office, his plan to suspend the law on what are known as conflict minerals was leaked to the media.

The law was part of former president Barack Obama’s 2010 financial reform package known as the Dodd-Frank Act. Section 1502 of the act requires U.S. companies to avoid using conflict minerals from Congo and surrounding countries that are used to fund war, perpetuating human rights atrocities.

It also asked companies to track their global supply chains and provide independently audited reports to the Securities Exchange Commission.

Rights groups called the transparency law groundbreaking.

“The conflict minerals law is a vital way of breaking the chain between horrific human rights abuses in Central Africa and consumer products like smartphones,” said Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s director of global issues.

Tantalum, tin, tungsten (the 3Ts) and gold — heavily mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) — are referred to as conflict minerals because of the immense profits they bring in help warlords finance their wars with rival armies and the Congolese military.

The Enough Project, a Washington-based NGO, refers to what is happening in the DRC as the deadliest conflict since the Second World War, with more than 5.4 million people killed since the late 1990s and millions more displaced.

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