Tuesday, October 18, 2011

In Reversal, Enough Project to Call for Delayed Implementation of DF-1502

Even as it continues to push publicly for an immediate and strict implementation of Dodd-Frank 1502, Enough is preparing to recommend that the law be phased-in over a period of a year, according to Eric Kajemba, a leading Congolese civil society leader.

Several of Enough's allies expressed surprise that Enough, which has been leading the campaign against what it terms "conflict minerals," would appear to be reversing its position on the need for an immediate implementation of the law.

Corinna Gilfillan, with the U.S. office of Global Witness, the other major Western NGO leading the "conflict minerals" campaign, indicated she hadn't heard about Enough's reversal, but said that her organization stood by its call for immediate implementation. "Our position is what we stated at the hearing today," she said, referring to an all-afternoon hearing held at the Securities and Exchange Commission to discuss 1502.

Two Democratic congressional aides not authorized to speak on behalf of their bosses also appeared to be caught off-guard.

Many leading Western NGOs have signed on to Enough's call for an immediate implementation, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Open Society.

Enough refused to explain to me why it would be calling for a phase-in period. Enough's Sasha Lezhnev would only say that their report would be issued soon.

Congolese civil society leaders are calling for a three-year phase-in period to give them time to put mechanisms in place to determine which minerals are conflict-free or not within Congo.

Kajemba said that Enough asked him to sign on to their one-year proposal, but that he didn't feel this was a realistic time-frame. "It's good to see them recognizing the inadvertent harm the legislation has caused," he said. "But we need a reasonable amount of time to put proper mechanisms in place to insure that our minerals are conflict-free."

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