While the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform act, passed in 2010, was mostly concerned about financial reform, it included a provision, Section 1502, chiefly through the efforts of Congressman Jim McDermott, aimed at increasing transparency about mining activities in the DRC by forcing US companies to disclose whether the sources of their mining activities were in certain areas of the DRC or unspecified neighbouring companies.
The result has been devastating to say the least. David Aronson’s op-ed in the NY Times last summer details some of the unforeseen damage on the mining industry in the eastern part of the country:
The law has brought about a de facto embargo on the minerals mined in the region, including tin, tungsten and the tantalum that is essential for making cellphones. The smelting companies that used to buy from eastern Congo have stopped. No one wants to be tarred with financing African warlords — especially the glamorous high-tech firms like Apple and Intel that are often the ultimate buyers of these minerals. It’s easier to sidestep Congo than to sort out the complexities of Congolese politics — especially when minerals are readily available from other, safer countries.
While a recent UN report acknowledges some successes of the legislation, it notes that the falling production due to the law has led to “”rising unemployment and worsened poverty among the tens of thousands…
Shortly following the end of the brutal decades-long conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE), international pressure mounted for an independent inquiry into allegations of war crimes and other violations of international law, particularly during the final stages of the war when the UN estimates that “tens of thousands” of civilians were killed between January and May 2009 . While the Sri Lankan government avidly rejected any such claims, about a year following the culmination of the conflict the president announced that he would form the ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation’ Commission (LLRC) with “regard to the difficulties and troubled times that Sri Lanka had to undergo due to the terrorist inspired, manoeuvred and created conflict situation in recent years” and stemming from “the need for restorative justice by the Sri Lankan people.”
While human rights activists and NGOs were initially hopeful that such a commission would play a role akin to that of the ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ Commission of South Africa, the result fell short of expectations.
The differences in the context in which the two commissions came into fruition are clear – one followed democratization of the country and the sweeping in of a new regime, and the other followed the annihilation of separatist forces and the ruling regime’s consolidation of power over the last bits…