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

May 14, 2012 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—Congress should continueto support laws that promote transparency among companies that mine in theCongo and to “resist watering down SEC regulations to half measures that maysave money, but cost lives.” said Bishop Nicolas Djomo Lola, president of the CatholicBishops’ Conference of the Congo, in May 10 testimony to the House FinancialServices Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade. The U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) sponsored Bishop Djomo Lola’sparticipation in the hearing, “The Costs and Consequences of Dodd-Frank Section1502: Impacts on America and the Congo.” Catholic Relief Services (CRS) coordinatedthe trip.

Speaking not as a businessman or afinancial expert but as “a religious leader, who is deeply disturbed by theterrible violence and suffering that has dominated life in Eastern Congo since1996,” Bishop Djomo Lola said, “This violence has destroyed families, villagesand communities. One prominent driver of the violence is illicit mining conductedby the many armed groups in Eastern Congo. To protect our people from themisery of minerals, the Church in the Congo publicly supported the passage ofSection 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.”

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

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

---

MEDIA CONTACT ONLY:Don ClemmerO: 202-541-3206Email