Congo: Big news this week out of the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC). After months and months of intense advocacy by JWW together with its partners, the SEC has finally released and voted on the final conflict minerals regulations required in the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform Act that passed in July 2010. Though the final rules have not yet been posted to the SEC website, it looks like they have been weakened in a response to company and US Chamber of Commerce pressure – the latter of which has threatened a lawsuit. Significantly, the rules now allow for a two-year phase in for reporting requirements. We will be reviewing the rules over the next week and send out a more detailed analysis with our next update. No matter what, it’s important to recognize the significant milestone we’ve reached – only possible because of the consistent pressure and advocacy you have all joined in on. Thank you!
Sudan: As we reported this morning, violence in Darfur has been increasing – including a resurgence of the Janjaweed militia forces, an increase in rapes in the region and renewed bombings on civilian areas. In South Kordofan, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) bombed several civilian villages this week. According to new evidence from the Satellite Sentinel Project, the SAF has stationed aircraft at the El Obeid airfield in North Kordofan, Sudan – within striking range of the Nuba Mountains/South Kordofan as well as refugee camps across the border. In a move that has outraged activists, the US government is working to raise more than $3 billion for the Khartoum regime from China and its allies in the Arab world, hoping to help Sudan meet its budget shortfall and ease a transition to peace with South Sudan. Any aid to Sudan must be strongly and explicitly conditioned on the implementation of all existing agreements (including cessation of hostilities and access to humanitarian aid for civilians) and the conclusion of final status negotiations on all outstanding issues. Take action here.
We’re Watching: Just a quick heads up to all our stalwarts that we’re watching closely as the situation in Ethiopia develops following Meles Zenawi’s death. Meles has been Ethiopia’s Prime Minister since 1991, and the country has been on JWW’s high-risk genocide watch list for a few years running. Ethiopia has had some internal conflicts to which it has responded harshly – with serious reports of violence against civilians and mass human rights violations – rebel/separatist forces in the area may see Meles’s death as an opportunity to press their advantage. For those looking for more information, the International Crisis Group released an analysis of Ethiopia today and the Atlantic released a fascinating report on Meles yesterday.