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Congolese Bishop Says Illegal Mining Causes Violence, Poverty, Urges Regulation In Congressional Testimony

 
May 14, 2012

WASHINGTON—Congress should continue to support laws that promote transparency among companies that mine in the Congo and to “resist watering down SEC regulations to half measures that may save money, but cost lives.” said Bishop Nicolas Djomo Lola, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Congo, in May 10 testimony to the House Financial Services Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) sponsored Bishop Djomo Lola’s participation in the hearing, “The Costs and Consequences of Dodd-Frank Section 1502: Impacts on America and the Congo.” Catholic Relief Services (CRS) coordinated the trip.

Speaking not as a businessman or a financial expert but as “a religious leader, who is deeply disturbed by the terrible violence and suffering that has dominated life in Eastern Congo since 1996,” Bishop Djomo Lola said, “This violence has destroyed families, villages and communities. One prominent driver of the violence is illicit mining conducted by the many armed groups in Eastern Congo. To protect our people from the misery of minerals, the Church in the Congo publicly supported the passage of Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.”

Bishop Djomo Lola expressed the hope that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will publish rules that will be rigorous enough to ensure that companies and consumers do not participate, inadvertently or not, in commerce that has led to suffering and thousands of deaths.

He added, “The Church in the Congo trusts that the business community can and will join us to protect the life and human dignity of the Congolese people by conducting legal, transparent and accountable international commerce. We are confident that they do not want to be part of the misery that has plagued Eastern Congo for years.”

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