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DRC: Ndolo Military Prison – Political Prisoners write to Minister of Justice of DRC: “Re: Detention Without Trial” (21.08.2017)

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US: State Department plan shelving Special Envoys to the Great Lakes, South Sudan and Sudan!

The Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as part of the Trump Administration has clearly been working hard. Since the revamp of the Department of State, the Secretary has letter explaining cuts in the Department to the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations at the United States Congress, Bob Corker. The United States government has clearly shifted their foreign policy and care for former allies. Their engagement are moving, but not as ready-made policy!

Tillerson wrote in his letter about this shift in African diplomacy or foreign relations:

The titles for following positions will be removed and the functions and staff assumed by the Bureau of African Affairs (AF):

U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa & Democratic Republic of Congo. The Special Envoy position currently is organized in AF, however the authorized staff positions and associated funding are currently in the Office of the Secretary and will be reprogrammed to AF. This will involve realigning 4 positions and $957,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of African Affairs (AF).

U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan. This will involve realigning 6 positions and $4,408,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of African Affairs (AF). We intend to request that Congress repeal the statutory provision for this special envoy position, since a deputy assistant secretary in AF already fulfills the responsibilities” (Rex Tillerson to Bob Corker on ‘Special Envoys and Special Representatives’).

So the Department of State will remove the Special Envoys to the Great Lakes and Democratic Republic Congo, also to the Sudan and South Sudan. These are all nations where the United States has been involved and been important part of the development. Their sanctions and acts within these republics has been vital. That is why the opposition in the DRC has asked for stronger sanctions and travel bans on the Kabila government.

The others are the South Sudan, where the US are parts of the Troika, who is also major donors to the South Sudanese government. The newly independent republic, that got massive help from the Americans for their independence from Khartoum and Sudan. The Sudan has also been important for the Americans as they have tried to solve the crisis in Darfur and it has also worked well with them for their oil. The reasons for why usually the Americans has involved itself in foreign countries.

The US now clearly doesn’t see the value in Sudan, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and the other countries of Great Lakes. These are now undervalued, as the Special Envoys and their functions are now moved to others. The African Affairs staff gets more functions, as the Special Envoys will not create relationship it used to have.

The Envoy will have the same close work with Burundi, Rwanda, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Sudan. All of these Republic will not be represented in a fashion that the United States has done before. This proves that the American government doesn’t care about the state of affairs or wanting to engage in the conflicts, the internal problems and the totalitarian governments. The US neglects its place and purpose in these republics.

So when the United States comes to the crisis in South Sudan and other places. They will not have the same connections or understanding of the republics. This will second-sourced information, instead of getting it directly.

The United States are downgrading their diplomatic leadership to all these nations, as the Special Envoys will be shelved by the force of the State Department. The Americans are clearly not caring or bothered by the conflict, the refugee crisis or the oppressive behavior against opposition. The United States are now distant and not engaged there. They will be far away and only there when it fits their interests. Peace.

RDC: Banque Centrale du Congo – “Concerne: Mesure temporaire de suivi du taux de change en Republique Democratique du Congo” (17.08.2017)

Congo Brazzaville – ANC: Communique de Presse (12.08.2017)

RDC: Sud-Kivu – “Quote Part du Gouvernorat sur les Frais Remuneratoires percus per SAESSCAM” (19.05.2017)

UN World Food Programme in diplomatic tangle because of the Rwandese beans exported to Burundi (12.04.2017)

EU’s new regulation plans to scrap imports of conflict minerals by 2021!

The people back home wouldn’t buy a ring if they knew it cost someone else their hand”Maddy Brown (Blood Diamond, 2006).

The European Union are acting out of care and thinking of transparency for the industrial imports and mineral exporters. This is happening just a little month after the United States opened up their legislation for importing more from conflict zones. While the European Union plans to close the gate from areas and from sources that export Conflict minerals.

So the EU laws are becoming more stricter than the United States, even if the law they have enacted in the European Parliament and Council of the European Union, will be effective from 2021. So it is 4 years until it has giant effect and gives time to refinery and importers to change behavior. Something that is necessary, as well as the public have to grow concern of the affects of buying conflict minerals. Even as the conflict minerals still come into the market of Europe and into the refineries so the consumers doesn’t know and cannot follow where their products who contain minerals comes from war-zones.

That the European Union takes this serious and acts upon this Nobel, and proves that they does not want to support militias and guerrillas that keeps control of mineral rich areas and their exports to supply weapons and continue warfare in for instance the African Great Lakes Region. Take a look!

Background of new rule:

This Regulation, by controlling trade in minerals from conflict areas, is one of the ways of eliminating the financing of armed groups. The Union’s foreign and development policy action also contributes to fighting local corruption, to the strengthening of borders and to providing training for local populations and their representatives in order to help them highlight abuses” (EU, P: 8, 2017).

Conflict Minerals from Great Lakes Region:

The Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy should regularly review their financial assistance to and political commitments with regard to conflict-affected and high-risk areas where tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold are mined, in particular in the African Great Lakes Region, in order to ensure policy coherence, and in order to incentivise and strengthen the respect for good governance, the rule of law and ethical mining” (EU, P: 16, 2017).

Trade of Minerals funds armed conflicts:

Preventing the profits from the trade in minerals and metals being used to fund armed conflict through due diligence and transparency will promote good governance and sustainable economic development. Therefore, this Regulation incidentally covers areas falling within the Union policy in the field of development cooperation in addition to the predominant area covered which falls under the common commercial policy of the Union” (EU, P:17, 2017).

Important Article:

Article 3: Compliance of Union importers with supply chain due diligence obligations

1. Union importers of minerals or metals shall comply with the supply chain due diligence obligations set out in this Regulation and shall keep documentation demonstrating their respective compliance with those obligations, including the results of the independent third-party audits” (EU, P: 23, 2017).

Date of Application:

Articles 1(5), 3(1), 3(2), Articles 4 to 7, Articles 8(6), 8(7), 10(3), 11(1), 11(2), 11(3), 11(4), Articles 12 and 13, Article 16(3), and Article 17 shall apply from 1 January 2021” (EU, P: 51, 2017).

What the statements on the law:

The Commission will consider making additional legislative proposals targeted at EU companies with products containing tin, tantalum, and tungsten and gold in their supply chain should it conclude that the aggregate efforts of the EU market on the responsible global supply chain of minerals are insufficient to leverage responsible supply behaviour in producer countries, or should it assess that the buy-in of downstream operators that have in place supply chain due diligence systems in line with the OECD guidance is insufficient” (…) “In the exercise of its empowerment to adopt delegated acts pursuant to Article 1(5), the Commission will take due account of the objectives of this Regulation, notably as set out in recitals (1), (7), (10) and (17). In doing so, the Commission will, in particular, consider the specific risks associated with the operation of upstream gold supply chains in conflict affected and high-risk areas and taking into account the position of Union micro and small enterprises importing gold in the EU” (…) “In response to the request of the European Parliament for specific guidelines, the Commission is willing to develop performance indicators specific to the responsible sourcing of conflict minerals. By means of such guidelines, relevant companies with more than 500 employees that are required to disclose non-financial information in conformity with Directive 2014/95/EU would be encouraged to disclose specific information in relation to products containing tin, tantalum, tungsten or gold” (EU, P: 57-58, 2017).

The European Union is doing something positive with this. That they show effort and care for the imports and what affects the export has locally, so if the minerals export is shady, the export will cease. So if the due diligence regulation works and the industry complies, the effect can be enormous. The consumer will also know that there are not supporting by third party purchase to pay for ammunition rebels, warlords or guerrillas in far away lands. This should all be seen as step of making a better world and honorable society. Where the money is where the mouth is! Peace.

Reference:

Council of the European Union – ‘Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council setting up a Union system for supply chain due diligence self-certification of responsible importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold originating in conflict-affected and high-risk areas – Outcome of the European Parliament’s first reading (Strasbourg, 13 to 16 March 2017) – (20.03.2017).

RDC: Alliance Bank S.A. – “Concerne: Renoncement a l’Agrement” (08.03.2017)

Burundi: Le Ministère de la Défense Nationale annonce qu’aucun Groupe armé n’a été aperçu traversant la frontière entre le Burundi et le Rwanda (13.03.2017)

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