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Cordaid NL
Extractives

European vote on conflict minerals: great step forward for human rights

On May 20th, the European Parliament voted on conflict minerals. In comparison to the conflict minerals proposal of March 2014, the vote represents a great victory for communities affected by human rights abuses that are fueled by mining extraction.

“The vote in Strasbourg regarding conflict minerals is a victory for human rights. We are at a turning point in the dialogue. The legislation mandates refiners, smelters, manufacturers, and importers of products containing tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold to ensure the components are sourced responsibly through upstream and downstream channels.” says Dr. Denis Mukwege from DR Congo.

According to him, the outcome of this vote “demonstrates ethical governance is not only possible, but required. A conflict-free minerals industry would contribute to ending the unspeakable violence the people of Congo have endured for years.”

880.000 companies are covered, which stands in sharp contrast to the 20 smelters and refiners affected by the earlier proposal.

Act responsibly

The European Parliament’s vote legally requires all EU companies that use tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold (3TG), from any of the conflict-affected high-risk areas in the world, to act responsibly and undertake due diligence. They 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. Under the new proposal, potentially 880.000 companies are covered, which stands in sharp contrast to the 20 smelters and refiners affected by the earlier proposal.

The European Parliament decided that it will now enter informal talks with EU member states to seek agreement on the final version of the law. This offers a good opportunity for the Netherlands and other member states to support and further strengthen the new legislation. In this way  citizens will get guarantees that they are not complicit to human rights abuses through their purchases of consumer goods, such as laptops and smartphones.

Strengthen

Cordaid is part of a European campaign that tries to strengthen European legislation on conflict minerals. This campaign is supported through a statement signed by 146 church leaders from 38 countries on five continents, asking for strong regulation to achieve the objective of breaking the link between natural resources and conflicts.