European Parliament votes in favour of binding regulation on conflict minerals

conflict minerals

On 20 May 2015, the European Parliament positioned itself in support of a mandatory due diligence scheme for downstream and upstream companies that sell tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold – in any form – in the EU.  Now the Council, Parliament and the Commission are undertaking "trialogue" negotiations behind closed doors.

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Article
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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Item
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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Article
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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Article
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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Article
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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Article
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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Article
13 May 2015

Commentary: "Child labour won't stop with conflict-free labels and voluntary codes"

Author: Josephine Moulds, Guardian (UK)

A fight is brewing in Europe over new rules for companies to report on so-called "conflict minerals", which are commonly found in mobile phones, laptops, lightbulbs and jewellery...Campaigners say the proposals do not go far enough and the European parliament has missed an opportunity to tackle the issue of minerals sourced from conflict zones...On the other side of the debate, industry insiders say a mandatory reporting scheme would be costly and would harm the competitiveness of EU products... One way of tackling that issue would be to make reporting mandatory for all European companies trading in these minerals, not just the smelters... [Refers to Apple]

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Article
5 May 2015

Video: Fridolin Ambongo from the Dem. Rep. of Congo calls for stronger conflict minerals regulation

Author: CIDSE

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Article
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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Article
28 April 2015

EU Conflict Minerals Regulation

Author: Amnesty Intl. & Global Witness

Dear colleagues,

We invite civil society organisations to sign-on to the attached joint open letter on the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation. The letter calls on Members of the European Parliament to push for a strong, effective law when they vote in May.

The Conflict Minerals Regulation is intended to ensure that companies in Europe source minerals responsibly and transparently from conflict-affected and high-risk areas. The Parliament is expected to vote on the Regulation at their Plenary session on 20 May. The result will define the Parliament's mandate for negotiating the final text of the law with the Council of the European Union.

This is a landmark chance to tackle a deadly trade that finances secretive security forces and abusive armed groups around the world. But the proposals currently on the table are weak and risk Europe lagging behind global efforts on corporate responsibility and transparency. We have an important opportunity to call on MEPs to take action, but it is vital that we show strong and unified civil society support for a better law.

If your organisation would like to sign-on to the open letter, please contact Lucy Graham, Amnesty International at [email protected] / (+44) (0)207 413 5936. The deadline for receiving signatures is 5pm (London time) on Wednesday 6 May.