157 NGOs sign open letter calling for stronger EU conflict minerals regulation

On 20 May, Members of the European Parliament have voted in favour of binding regulation on conflict minerals in entire supply chain.  Discussions on details of the final regulation are underway with EU member states.


The open letter calls on members of the EU Parliament to vote for a law that: 

  • requires all companies bringing minerals into the EU – whether in their raw form or contained in products – to carry out supply chain due diligence and publicly report in line with international standards 

  • is flexible enough to cover,in the future, other resources that may be linked to conflict, human rights abuses and corruption

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20 May 2015

Amnesty Intl. & Global Witness applaud European Parliament for defying lobbying in vote for strong conflict minerals regulation

Author: Amnesty Intl. & Global Witness

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have made history today by voting in favour of a strong and binding law to tackle the deadly trade in conflict minerals, said Amnesty International and Global Witness.Today’s vote determines the position with which the European Parliament (EP) enters into negotiations with Member States and the Commission to find an agreement on the law.

“This is a historic moment. MEPs have voted for a law that should make a real difference to the lives of those suffering under the trade in conflict minerals”, said Michael Gibb of Global Witness “Despite concerted efforts by big business to weaken the legislation, MEPs have clearly positioned themselves for a strong, binding law that is fit for purpose...“The European Parliament has sent a clear signal. European firms cannot turn a blind eye to the risk their operations contribute to human rights abuses abroad,” said Lucy Graham, legal advisor in Amnesty International’s Business and Human Rights team. “If the European Council follows suit, this law would represent a sea change in what is expected of companies when the minerals in their products come from countries riven by conflict.”

20 May 2015

European Parliament goes beyond Commission's proposals & votes for binding regulation for conflict minerals for "all Union importers"

Author: European Parliament News

"Conflict minerals: MEPs ask for mandatory certification of EU importers"

Parliament voted by 400 votes to 285, with 7 abstentions, to overturn the Commission's proposal as well as the one adopted by the international trade committee and requested mandatory compliance for "all Union importers" sourcing in conflict areas.  In addition, "downstream" companies, that is, the 880 000 potentially affected EU firms that use tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold in manufacturing consumer products, will be obliged to provide information on the steps they take to identify and address risks in their supply chains for the minerals and metals concerned...The regulation applies to all conflict-affected high risk areas in the world, of which the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes area are the most obvious example...In a vote of 343 votes to 331, with 9 abstentions, Parliament decided not to close the first reading position and to enter into informal talks with the EU member states to seek agreement on the final version of the law.

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19 May 2015

"European parliament must seize its chance to stop trade in conflict minerals"

Author: Letter by advocates, in Guardian (UK)

On 20 May, the European parliament will vote on a proposed regulation to tackle the trade in conflict minerals....We are gravely concerned that the regulation proposed by the European Commission does not envision any real change. It makes it merely optional for importers to source these minerals responsibly. The proposed voluntary scheme would cover just 0.05% of companies using these minerals within the EU. No companies would be legally obliged to check whether they are complicit in financing conflict or human rights abuses...

Members of the European parliament have an opportunity to help break the links between the minerals trade, conflict and human rights abuses...We urge them to ensure that, in line with its fundamental principles, the European parliament demands additional binding rules that put respect for human rights above narrow economic interests.

Dr Denis Mukwege
Founder and medical director, Panzi hospital, Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Nicolas Van Nuffel
President, European Network for Central Africa (EurAc)
Christine Allen
Director of policy, Christian Aid
Iverna McGowan
Acting director and director of programmes, Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office
Patrick Alley
Co-founder and director, Global Witness
Oliver Buston
Director, Walk Free Movement
Karim Lahidji
President, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
Brigitte Dufour
Director, International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR)
Bernd Nilles
Secretary general, International Alliance of Catholic Development Agencies (CIDSE)
José Henríquez
Secretary General of Pax Christi International
Francesca Boniotti
Executive director, Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF)
Luis Enrique Eguren
Executive director, Protection International (PI)
Guido Barbera
President, Coordination of Popular Initiatives of International Solidarity (CIPSI)
Jérome Chaplier
Coordinator, the European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ)
José Ignacio Garcia SJ
Director, the Jesuit European Social Center (JESC)
Philippe Mayol
Head of Africa Department, CCFD-Terre Solidaire
Bernard Thibaud
Secretary General, Secours Catholique/Caritas France

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19 May 2015

"New EU rules on conflict minerals will help local communities", says EU parliament rapporteur

Author: Iuliu Winkler, EU parliament’s rapporteur on conflict mineral regulation

...[P]arliament has drafted a report on setting up an EU system for supply chain due diligence self-certification of responsible importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten (3TG) originating from conflict-affected and high-risk areas...The compromise achieved in parliament's international trade committee is very important, providing an efficient and workable regulation capable of focusing on two priorities: empowering local communities in conflict-affected areas, and increasing the responsible behaviour of all stakeholders involved in trade...As I continue work on this file, I have two priorities. First, to help and assist local communities affected by illegal mining and trade activities conducted or supervised by armed groups with the aim of illegally appropriating profits from economic activity...Second, to increase the responsibility of all stakeholders...and promoting a common effort towards transparency and control of the use of 3TG from conflict areas.

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19 May 2015

EU CSR Rapporteur Richard Howitt MEP calls for strong EU law on conflict minerals

Author: Richard Howitt, Member of the European Parliament

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19 May 2015

European Parliament looks set to cave in to big business over conflict minerals trade, Global Witness warns

Author: Global Witness

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18 May 2015

Battle lines drawn as EU Parliament votes on ‘conflict minerals’

Author: EurActiv.com with AFP

The European Parliament will consider this week whether to follow the United States by bringing in tighter controls on minerals from war zones, but critics say the measures risk being watered down...Leftist MPs and rights groups want the regulation to be compulsory across the board, not just for the 20 smelters and refineries...that would be affected, and are trying to pass amendments to the resolution...They face stiff opposition from right-wing lawmakers and pro-business lobbyists, who are backing the resolution as it is and favour a more voluntary approach to the regulation of conflict minerals...Leading the charge for compulsory regulation is Denis Mukwege,...who last year won Europe's top rights prize for his work treating victims of mass rape...[Refers to Apple and HP]

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18 May 2015

Digging Deeper: The EU’s double standards on conflict minerals

Author: Bram Dijkstra, NewEurope

The European Parliament will vote on a draft...EU...regulation to address the trade in conflict minerals on...20 May...The current draft regulation only scratches the surface...In its bias towards industry interests, it fails to address the security and development needs of miners themselves...Standards for self-certification have been available since 2010, but companies simply do not check their supply chains unless they are required to. A voluntary European scheme would be well below the legal standard already in place in a number of African countries, as well as the United States...[T]he issue has been reframed as one of clean supply chains as a goal in itself...[S]olutions to political conflict require more than clean supply chains... A truly comprehensive approach to responsible mining would be grounded in the realities of affected mining communities...This requires EU diplomats to be much more stringent in demands on local policy-makers to tackle chronic poverty, unemployment and instability...

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16 May 2015

'Conflict minerals' funding deadly violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo as EU plans laws to clean up trade

Author: Sarah Morrison, Global Witness, in Independent (UK)

Armed groups have preyed on eastern DRC's mineral sector for more than fifteen years. They have taxed and traded minerals...to help fund brutal violence. Millions of people have been displaced within the country due to armed conflict in the east...The European Parliament is set to vote on its first conflict minerals regulation aimed at cleaning up the trade this coming week. The European Union accounted for more than 15 per cent of global imports in tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold in 2013...Yet it currently has no legislation compelling companies to check if their mineral purchases fund conflict or human rights abuses overseas...[The new] regulation has to avoid the risks of disengagement from conflict areas...Strong conflict minerals legislation in Europe will not end conflict in DRC...But stopping the minerals trade from benefitting parties in a conflict could reduce their access to funding...

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4 May 2015

Civil society calls for more comprehensive regulation on conflict minerals at upcoming EU Parliament vote

Author: CIDSE

"European Parliament's upcoming "conflict minerals" vote: A more comprehensive responsible sourcing requirement is needed to meet the demands of 140 Church leaders"

On Tuesday 19 May 2015, the European Parliament will vote...on the regulation on responsible mineral sourcing...This will be a key opportunity to enhance the very weak draft law voted on...14th...April by MEPs sitting in the International Trade...committee...Contrary to the wishes of many citizens..., the regulation as now proposed...will not prevent natural resources extracted through abusive practices from entering the...electronic devices sold by European companies...140 Church leaders from 38 countries on 5 continents have signed a statement which was first released in October 2014...Church leaders demanded a "mandatory due diligence system" together with "shared responsibility by companies along the entire supply chain" to guarantee the respect of human rights...Church leaders demanded "consistency in the range of natural resources covered" to include all natural resources that fuel human rights abuses...

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