On 2nd October 2015 Amnesty International filed a petition asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to reconsider previous decisions of April 2014 and August 2015 striking down the need for company disclosure on whether products have “not been found to be DRC conflict free” as required originally in the SEC Rule on 1502 of Dodd Frank. The decisions previously made twice by the Court were based on the view that requirement for such disclosure violates companies’ free speech rights under the First Amendment of the US Constitution, and in part because questions existed regarding whether the requirement was effective in achieving aims for reducing conflict in the DRC.

Steven Hawkins, Amnesty International USA’s Executive Director noted that “The links between armed groups and the minerals trade are well known, yet companies are still hiding behind the First Amendment to avoid disclosing whether their products help benefit an ongoing, brutal conflict” adding that disclosures cut a cord that disgracefully links consumer products like smart phones to the funding of armed groups responsible for vicious human rights abuses.” Others such as Laura Seay (here) continue to dispute whether there was, or remains, any link correlating the level of violence and abuses occurring in the Kivu provinces of the DRC with the mineral trade. In ITRI’s view the requirement in the SEC Rule to disclose whether company products are, or are not, conflict-free was a key cause of the de-facto embargo on central African minerals by risk-averse buyers and the previous decisions of the Court were therefore a positive step.