EU Commission should heed parliament’s call for strong EU regulation on conflict resources, campaigners say

For immediate release: 26 February 2014

EU Commission should heed parliament’s call for strong EU regulation on conflict resources, campaigners say

Campaigners welcomed the passage today of a European Parliament report on ‘promoting development through responsible business practices’. The report, drafted by Green MEP Judith Sargentini, calls for binding EU rules that ensure that all companies operating in the EU, using or trading minerals sourced from conflict-affected areas, check their supply chains to reduce the risk of conflict financing and human rights abuses.

  • Frédéric Triest from Eurac said: “We strongly welcome Parliament’s call for EU regulation that makes supply chain checks compulsory for companies operating in Europe. Robust legislation would not only benefit European customers and investors, but would make a real difference to millions of people in war-torn countries, such as DRC, where natural resources are providing an incentive and source of funds for fighting.”
  • Zobel Behalal from CCFD Terre-Solidaire said: “Years of campaigning have highlighted the links between natural resources and conflict – but the vast majority of EU companies have still not done enough to reduce the risk of buying metals or gems that have fuelled conflict and abuses. Without a clear legislative framework companies simply will not carry out the necessary checks.”
  • Michael Reckordt, coordinator of the German network „AK Rohstoffe said: “The global nature of modern supply chains means that natural resources that have fuelled some of the world’s most brutal conflicts are bought and traded by companies operating in Europe.  As the world’s largest trading bloc, the EU is a major importer of products containing natural resources, and has a responsibility to make sure its firms are doing business responsibly.”
  • Marianne Moor from Pax said: “Our research in Colombia demonstrates the very real links between resources such as tungsten, tin, tantalum, gold, coal and conflict. Most EU companies currently have no idea whether the minerals that they use have funded armed groups. Mandatory checks would provide assurances to European consumers that products they buy aren’t linked to conflict.”
  • Sophia Pickles from Global Witness said: “Next week the Commission is due to publish a proposal on responsible mineral sourcing for EU companies. We urge the Commission to put forward mandatory due diligence requirements, in line with those supported by the Parliament today.”
  • Seema Joshi from Amnesty International said: It’s absolutely critical that whatever the Commission publishes next week, it enforces existing international standards. Anything short of a mandatory obligation would, in our view, mean that the Commission had failed to do enough to prevent Europe from acting as a conflict mineral trading hub.”

/ Ends

Contact:

AK Rohstoffe (PowerShift e.V.), Michael Reckordt, +49 151-211 676 18 michael.reckordt@power-shift.de;

Amnesty International, Seema Joshi, +44 7904398437 sjoshi@amnesty.org;

CCFD-Terre Solidaire: Zobel Behalal, + 33 1 44 82 81 85 z.behalal@ccfd-terresolidaire.org

Eurac, Frédéric Triest, +32 490 43 76 70, Frederic.Triest@eurac-network.org;

Global Witness, Sophia Pickles, +44 7703 108449 spickles@globalwitness.org;

Pax: Marianne Moor, +31 653221379 moor@ikvpaxchristi.nl;

Notes:

1. Over sixty international non-governmental organisations released a joint paper last year outlining the need for robust European legislation based on existing supply chain due diligence standards set out by the UN and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD standards have already been endorsed by EU governments, yet very few companies based in Europe – if any – currently carry out and report publicly on their due diligence practices.

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