Durbin Statement on US District Court Decision Regarding Conflict Minerals

Washington, D.C. – Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement today after the US District Court in Washington DC threw out a challenge to the Security and Exchange Commission’s conflict minerals regulations. The regulations would require companies that use key minerals mined in Congo to disclose such usage as part of their Securities and Exchange Commission filings, as well as what measures, if any, they are taking to ensure that they are not purchasing minerals from armed groups or military units, and that their trade is not fuelling the region’s horrific sexual violence and armed conflict. Durbin was the author of the law along with former Senators Brownback and Feingold and Representative Jim McDermott, which was enacted as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reforms in 2010. Durbin said:


“More than 5 million people have been killed in the decade long civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The deadliest conflict since World War II is fueled, in part, by the mining and trade of minerals used in everything from cell phones, to jewelry, to airplanes.”


“The law we passed was simple. Congress said that any company registered in the United States which uses any of a small list of key minerals from the DRC or its neighbors, has to disclose this in its SEC filings. This transparency will allow consumers and investors to know which companies source materials more responsibly in DRC and will hopefully persuade the industry to finally create clean supply chains out of Congo.”


“This decision may seem small, but it will allow this law to be fully implemented and will make it easier for consumers and investors to choose products that are not supporting the violence in central Africa.”


In the District Court decision, the judge referenced an amicus brief Senator Durbin filed in the case. A copy of the brief is attached. Last week, Durbin met with former-Senator Russ Feingold, the new U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, about the situation in Congo. 


Eastern Congo has been plagued by civil war for over the better part of two decades. Fighting for control of the region’s vast mineral resources, the fighting has killed millions and uses violence against women as a weapon of war.  Known as the “Rape Capital of the World,” an estimated 1,000 women assaulted every day – nearly 12 percent of all women in Congo. The conflict is also marred by the use of child soldiers and the bloody and brutal violence inflicted on civilian populations. Durbin has visited Goma, in eastern Congo, twice in recent years.