News

    Tech Community Wants Specifics For Conflict Mineral Regulations

    United Nations peacekeepers patrol near their encampment in the village of Kimua in the east of DRC, 3 Oct 2009
    United Nations peacekeepers patrol near their encampment in the village of Kimua in the east of DRC, 3 Oct 2009

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Ricci Shryock

    Technology industry leaders in the United States say they welcome U.S. government efforts to regulate usage of the most common conflict minerals coming from Central Africa, but they say the law’s language is too vague.

    Currently the law would require companies to disclose if any of four minerals in their products - gold, tantalum, tungsten and tin - came from Central Africa.

    “We support it, and our proposal to Congress was a disclosure provision, a sunshine provision if you will, that was similar to the final provision,” said Rick Goss, vice president of Environment and Sustainability for the Information Technology Industry Council, a technology policy group in Washington.

    Many cell phones and laptops are made with minerals that originate in the Democratic Republic of Congo and neighboring countries. Advocates of regulating conflict minerals say the mines are often controlled by militias and rebel groups that use the profits to perpetuate violence against the local population.

    Though Goss’ clients support the law, its exact regulations and rules are still being set out by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and Goss added there are essential questions that have yet to be answered.

    “Some of the language is a bit confusing, so we’re not exactly sure until we see a rule exactly how it will be interpreted and implemented,” he said. “A good example here is that the law as written would require companies to conduct due diligence and disclose whether anyone in their supply chain took part in activities that directly or indirectly benefited armed groups. One question is who will be designated as an illegal armed group for the purposes of this law?”

    According to Goss, there are some members of Congress that want the Congolese military to be classified as an illegal armed group under the regulation, because of their participation in the illicit controlling of mines.

    Beyond defining who is and is not an illegal armed group, there is also the question of how to define whether a U.S. company’s mineral purchases directly or indirectly benefits that group, added Goss.

    Corinna Gilfillan, head of the United States office of Global Witness, said activists are trying to get companies and governments to cut off financing to armed groups.

    But Gilfillan added the SEC’s process is already a year past its original deadline for setting regulation guidelines and said some companies are raising objections to the regulations and delaying its enforcement. “What’s really extremely concerning about this is that this provision is aimed at tackling an urgent human rights crisis,” she said.

    The SEC has said they hope the process will be complete in the next few months.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora