Target: President Donald Trump
Goal: Do not relax rules discouraging firms from purchasing conflict minerals.
President Donald Trump is planning to reverse a 2010 rule that requires companies to disclose their use of conflict minerals — resources extracted in conflict zones. The rule was initially enacted in order to discourage the use of conflict minerals, thereby decreasing revenues to leaders of armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other Central African Nations. In turn, this reduced the flow of arms into long-running conflicts.
The east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) a contain rich sources of tantalum, gold, tungsten, tin, and other rare earths. For technology firms such as HP, Apple, Intel, and IBM, these minerals are key components of advanced electronics such as computer chips, touch screens, semiconductors, cell phones, and laptops. The proceeds from mining these elements have fueled decades of conflict which has resulted in the deaths of millions of people, and the injury or displacement of millions more.
The reversal of the conflict minerals rule will have impacts beyond the DRC, as conflicts in countries across the world may enable countries to acquire minerals at below market rate. Furthermore, it will undermine the consumer’s ability to make ethical choices in purchasing, making millions of people complicit in conflicts without their knowledge. Sign our petition and demand that President Trump drop his plans to allow companies to hide their use of conflict minerals.
Dear President Trump,
I was shocked to read your memorandum that would reverse the 2010 conflict minerals rule that requires firms to declare their use of minerals from conflict zones. As you may know, this rule was enacted by the SEC based on bipartisan support with the aim of reducing the revenues received by leaders of armed groups in conflict zones rich in tantalum, gold, tin, and other rare earths– integral components of computer chips, cell phones, laptops and semiconductors. Cutting this revenue reduces the quantity of arms flowing into these conflict zones and helps to end decades-long conflicts in Central Africa.
Not only will reversing this rule potentially reignite conflicts in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo — conflicts that have taken million of lives, and caused millions more to lose their homes — but it may exacerbate future conflicts in resource-rich regions throughout the world. Furthermore, it will undermine consumers’ power to make ethical consumption decisions, and make millions of people complicit in conflicts, war crimes, and theft. I urge you drop any plans to reverse this rule.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: U.S. Government Accountability Office, Washington DC