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Vol 55 No 20

Published 10th October 2014


Congo-Kinshasa

Conflict over conflict minerals

Arguments grow over whether measures to ensure mineral exports are conflict-free need strengthening or are damaging local society

An open letter from a group of 70 academics and specialists in Congo and the Great Lakes region has claimed that legislation and other measures to control conflict minerals are not having the desired effect. Addressed to governments, companies, non-governmental organisations and other interested parties, the letter says that policies inspired by campaigners may have created more hardship than benefit for the communities they were seeking to help. The authors, some based in Congo-Kinshasa, refer to social responsibility policies announced by United States' industry giants Intel and Apple early this year, which followed a wave of initiatives to 'clean up' eastern Congo's mining sector. They mention in particular US legislation known as Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2011.

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