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
16 April 2015

Parliament adopts relaxed measures on conflict minerals

Author: Cécile Barbière, Euractiv

MEPs from the Committee on International Trade have rejected a set of binding regulations for certain minerals extracted in conflict zones, in favour of a less ambitious system of self-certification, which would exclude some minerals entirely...The EU's smelters and refiners are the only industries that will be forced to use responsibly sourced minerals...This regulation, supported by the political right, is vehemently opposed by the left and the Greens, who had hoped for a system with binding standards at all stages in the supply chain...The...system also attracted harsh criticism from NGOs, who feel it lacks the teeth to hold the mineral extraction sector to account...[C]riticisms of the...proposal [also] hinged on its narrow scope...[T]he proposed new regulations...ignore many...conflict minerals, like emeralds from Colombia or copper, and jade and rubies from Burma...The proposed regulation will now be put before the European Parliament's plenary in May...

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Article
21 April 2015

Too Weak to Work? EU’s Conflict Minerals Regulation

Author: Source Intelligence, on 3BLMedia

The European Parliament's International Trade Committee...has recently voted on the amendments to the EU's conflict minerals regulation...The Members of the European Parliament have chosen to "conserve a large part of the system based on business self-certification and responsible labeling of supply chains." The vote was in favor of a mandatory system of certification for EU's smelters and refiners...The recent ruling on the proposal has left some in disappointment...[T]he left and the Greens...believe the newly adopted system should "be binding standards at all stages in the supply chain."...The draft regulation...still needs to be approved by the entire European Parliament...What issuers and non issuers can learn from the recent conflict minerals filings will be addressed in an upcoming webinar. The webinar will assist publicly traded companies with their upcoming smelter disclosures, and non-issuers and suppliers with requests from their customers...

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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.

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
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
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
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
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
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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