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Campaign calls on EU to strengthen conflict minerals regulation

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Article
21 August 2014

Commentary: "Europe must do its bit to stop the trade in conflict minerals"

Author: Ed Zwick, Guardian (UK)

"Europe must do its bit to stop the trade in conflict minerals", 19 Aug 2014

...[T]he EU is at risk of becoming a major trading hub for conflict minerals. It imports almost 25% of the global trade in tin, tantalum and tungsten. Despite this, there is no legislation requiring companies to source minerals responsibly...In an attempt to rectify this, the European commission recently proposed creating responsible sourcing standards for European companies. This is laudable, but the proposal that will soon be discussed in parliament is weak and toothless. First, it is voluntary and therefore need not be taken seriously by those it targets. Second, the proposal...covers a paltry 0.05% of Europe-based companies. In its present form, it will have no significant effect in preventing these minerals from entering European markets...[T]he EU is at risk of breaching its international obligations. Our governments have a duty under European human rights law to ensure businesses do not cause or contribute to human rights abuses. So why promote a voluntary proposal when what we urgently need is regulation and enforcement?...Global Witness – in concert with more than 60 NGOs – is campaigning for binding legislation that would require companies to investigate their supply chains and publicly report their findings. This is a landmark opportunity to help put this right. Contact your MEP and say we need to stop this deplorable situation.

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Article
21 August 2014

UK: Write to your MEPs

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Item
10 July 2014

Civil society briefing calls on EU to strengthen conflict minerals regulation

Author: AEFJN, Amnesty Intl., BNNR, Brot fur die Welt, Christain Aid, CIDSE, CNCD, CORE, EurAc, Global Witness, Jesuit European Social Centre, Justice et Paix, PowerShift, SOMO

"Joint Civil Society Briefing Ensuring robust EU legislation on responsible mineral sourcing", July 2014

Recommendations to strengthen the European Commission’s proposal for a ‘regulation 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...The new European Parliament has a critical opportunity to strengthen legislation proposed by the European Commission that aims to create responsible mineral supply chains for Europe. In its current form the Commission’s proposal, a voluntary scheme open to a limited number of companies, is weak and unfit for purpose. We are calling on MEPs to amend the draft legislation so that it legally requires companies to check their supply chains and identify and mitigate risk – a process known as due diligence – in line with existing international standards. Companies should also be required to report publicly on their efforts.

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Article
4 June 2014

New MEPs must tackle conflict minerals

Author: Gavin Hayman, Global Witness, on EUObserver

Earlier this year, the European Commission published a legislative proposal designed to address the issue of responsible mineral sourcing...Unfortunately, the proposal was deeply flawed. The commission argued for a voluntary, opt-in scheme which would fail to keep conflict minerals out of Europe. Under the current proposal, consumers will have no guarantee that the products that they are buying have not funded armed groups, nor contributed to a deadly cycle of violence and exploitation. For this reason, Global Witness and our coalition partners are urging Europe’s new parliamentarians to amend this proposal and ensure a robust piece of legislation...gets passed...We would encourage our new MEPs to focus their reform efforts on three areas. Firstly, they should insist that the opt-in scheme is amended to include a mandatory requirement for companies to do their due diligence...Secondly...the scope of companies it covers must be broadened...to require companies that import finished products containing these metals into the EU to explain the steps they have taken to source minerals responsibly...Finally, the proposal’s material scope must be widened to include other natural resources at risk of military predation.

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