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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
Rwanda June 26, 2014
Robert Menendez, D-NJ
"Also in June, Human Rights Watch, HRW, an organization that has worked on Rwanda for more than 20 years and documented the 1994 genocide, was accused by the Ministry of Justice of political bias and collaboration with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, FDLR, some of whose members participated in the genocide and committed horrific human rights abuses in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC. These accusations come in the wake of a May HRW critique of the Rwandan Government’s actions, including forced disappearances, and discount HRW’s constant critique of the FDLR’s egregious human rights record in the DRC. HRW, the last independent international organization based in Kigali speaking out against human rights abuses, appears at increasing risk of not being able to do its job, and perhaps even of being shut down."
Congo June 26, 2014
Richard Durbin, D-IL
"Another leader in the electronics industry has been Motorola Solutions, headquartered in Schaumberg, IL. Motorola Solutions emerged early as a company dedicated to cleaning up its supply chain, and to do so, it helped establish Solutions for Hope, dedicated to developing a “closed-pipe” supply chain. In the Rubaya region of the North Kivu province in the DRC, it has done just that. Tantalum mines in Rubaya were directly funding the leader of the vicious M23 rebel group, Bosco Ntaganda. Through persistent effort, diligent monitoring and the banding together of other likeminded corporations, those 17 mines are now certified conflict-free, and most importantly, M23 has laid down its arms and Bosco Ntaganda stands before the International Criminal Court to face charges for the atrocities he and his comrades committed."
Floor Action December 15, 2013
Michael Enzi, R-WY
"One of my constituents, Wesley from Jackson, WY, wrote to me with a great example of some of the unintended consequences of this law and its effect on small business. Here’s what he had to say: “I am writing to you as member of the Wyoming small business community to report on the implementation of an add-on to the Dodd-Frank act. Specifically section 1502, conflict minerals. This legislation is imposing a very severe burden especially on small businesses in the tech sector. I and others struggling to conform to the new requirements have found that they are usually impossible to meet in either the spirit or the letter of the law. I will explain. Section 1502 requires as I understand that publicly traded American companies must certify that their products do not contain conflict minerals—minerals obtained in the DRC—a noble goal indeed. The basic problem is that in practice, this certification is nearly impossible to meet. We are a small private company and are not explicitly subject to the regulation. However we have received numerous requests for these certifications from our (publicly traded) clients, which means that for them to meet the regulation, we must do so as well, and on down the line. Attempting to fulfill these requirements in order to keep our business will occupy 100s of man hours this year that we don’t have. This chain of requirements goes all the way to the raw material suppliers, where the ore originates. This is perhaps hundreds of levels in the chain for us. For the vast majority of materials we would want to purchase, our suppliers (of finished parts) cannot provide the certification, which means that we cannot provide it to our clients, which means that they will not buy from us. It is not possible for any honest firm to actually meet the requirements, because it is not possible to buy certified parts in many cases. For example we purchase resistors, which are purchased from large wholesalers and may come from many different vendors. Some of these vendors are overseas, and will not provide the certification even though the products are probably conflict-free. This means that the wholesaler must either lie to certify his product to us, or provide a certification that says “we don’t know the status of our parts but are looking into it”. We must then do the same to our clients, and on up the chain. At no point in this process is it possible for an honest citizen to actually know the conflict status of their materials. We have received boilerplate “we don’t know” certificates from nearly every vendor we have asked for certification, and this is happening all across the industry. No one can provide a real certificate: if anyone along the supply chain is foreign-owned, the chain of certification usually ends there. Nearly everything we would want to use in our products has some components that are foreign, and not certifiable. I would suggest that the burden of proof should be confined to companies that purchase the raw materials from smelters. At this level of the supply chain it would be possible to actually verify one’s sources, but for thousands of small to large businesses across the nation, this is simply a severe paperwork burden which does not actually serve to meet the intended goal. Please let us get back to our work.”"
The U.S. Contribution To The Fight Against Malaria May 21, 2013
Christopher Smith, R-NJ
"It is also important to note the extent to which the prevalence of malaria is concentrated. Eighty percent of malaria deaths occur in just 14 countries and almost 80% of cases occur in 17 countries. Over 40% of malaria deaths occur in two countries—the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria, and 40% of malaria cases are in the DRC, Nigeria, and India."
The Devastating Crisis In Eastern Congo January 3, 2013
Christopher Smith, R-NJ
"Mr. Speaker, last month the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights held a hearing which examined U.S. policy regarding the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This conflict was exacerbated by Rwanda’s interventions in neighboring eastern Congo, as documented by the release of three United Nations reports last year. These reports confirmed Rwanda’s support of militia who have ravaged and continue to plague this region. The State Department was unavailable to testify at our September 19th hearing on this issue, and the subcommittee promised at that time to follow-up when State was available to testify."

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