WASHINGTON – Congress is cracking down on companies dealing in minerals that fuel violence in Congo.
The legislation requires companies doing business in Congo and neighboring countries to disclose the origin of any minerals they trade in as specifically as possible. The requirement applies to any company listed on a U.S. stock exchange.
The legislation specifies four minerals believed to be funding the conflict, including gold and tin ore. It would give the U.S. secretary of state the ability to expand the list.
The legislation is part of a broad financial regulation bill passed Thursday. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the legislation into law in a matter of days.
U.S. officials and rights groups say armed militias in eastern Congo are forcing villagers to extract the minerals. They say profits are used to purchase weapons and extend the cycle of violence that has ravaged the region for more than a decade.
Democrat Howard Berman of California, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the legislation "a vital tool for alleviating the pain and suffering experienced by the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo."