Open Letter Calling for Stronger EU Conflict Minerals Regulation

The European Union is the world’s largest economy, the world’s largest trading block, and home to 500 million consumers. Every year, millions of euro worth of minerals flow into the EU from some of the poorest places on earth. No questions are asked about how they are extracted, or whether their trade fuels conflict in local communities. The EU has no legislation in place to ensure companies source their minerals responsibly. Now is the time for change.

The trade in resources – such as gold, diamonds, tantalum, tin, copper and coal – continues to perpetuate a cycle of conflict and human rights abuses in many fragile areas of the world. These resources enter global supply chains and end up in products that we use every day, such as aeroplanes, cars, mobile phones and laptops. These goods connect us to the hundreds of thousands who have been displaced by conflict in the Central African Republic and Colombia. They connect us also to the thousands who have endured years of violence and abuse in parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and to the unknown victims of shadowy intelligence organisations in Zimbabwe.

In March 2014, the European Commission put forward a draft regulation to address the trade in conflict minerals that, if passed, would fail to have a meaningful impact. It covers just four minerals: tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. It is entirely voluntary, giving 300-400 importers of those minerals the option of sourcing responsibly and reporting publicly on their efforts to do so, through a process known as “supply chain due diligence”. The law would only cover a tiny proportion of EU companies involved
in the trade, and leaves out the tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold that enter the EU in products that we use every day.

The European Parliament’s International Trade Committee has since proposed some mandatory requirements – but these also apply to just a small fraction of the industry. The vast majority of companies involved – including some of those importing directly from conflict-affected and high-risk areas – would have no obligation to source responsibly. Companies importing products containing these minerals would be left entirely off the hook.

This is a landmark opportunity for progress. But the weak proposals on the table would leave Europe lagging behind global efforts, including mandatory requirements endorsed by the US and by twelve African countries.

You, as a Member of the Parliament, can make a difference. We are calling on you to vote on 20 May for a law that:

* Requires all companies bringing minerals into the EU – whether in their raw form or contained in products – to carry out supply chain due diligence and publicly report in line with international standards.

* Is flexible enough to cover, in the future, other resources that may be linked to conflict, human rights abuses and corruption.

Tackling the highly lucrative trade in conflict minerals will not, on its own, put an end to conflict, corruption or abuse. However, it is critical to securing long-term peace and stability in some of the most fragile and resource-rich areas of the world. As long as an illicit industry can flourish unchecked, the trade in conflict minerals will supply funds and motivation to violent and abusive actors. Those bearing the cost of our weak efforts to regulate this trade will be some of the poorest and most vulnerable citizens of the world. For them, inaction and irresponsible business comes at a serious cost.

Yours sincerely

  1. Amnesty International
  2. Global Witness
  3. ABColombia
  4. Ação Franciscana de Ecologia e Solidariede (AFES)
  5. Access Info Europe
  6. ACIDH, Action Contre l’Impunité pour les Droits Humains (Action Against Impunity for Human Rights)
  7. Acidi Congo
  8. ActionAid
  9. AEDH
  10. AEFJN (Africa Europe Faith & Justice Network)
  11. African Resources Watch (AFREWATCH)
  12. AK Rohstoffe, Germany
  13. ALBOAN Foundation
  14. Alburnus Maior (The Save Rosia Montana Campaign)
  15. Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC)
  16. Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Thailand
  17. Asociación Puente de Paz
  18. Associació Solidaritat Castelldefels – Kasando
  19. Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network
  20. Ayar West Development Organization
  21. Berne Declaration
  22. BirdLife Europe
  23. La Bretxa Àfrica
  24. Broederlijk Delen
  25. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
  26. CATAPA
  27. CCFD-Terre Solidaire
  28. CEDIB (Centro de Documentación e Información Bolivia)
  29. Centre for Civil Society, Durban, South Africa
  30. Centro de Investigación y Estudios sobre Comercio y Desarrollo (CIECODE)
  31. Chiama l’Africa
  32. Chin Green Network
  33. Chinland Natural Resources Watch Group
  34. Christian Aid
  35. CIDSE
  36. CIR (Christliche Initiative Romero)
  37. CNCD-11.11.11 (Belgium)
  38. Coalition of the Flemish North-South Movement - 11.11.11
  39. Comité des Observateurs des Droits de l’Homme (CODHO)
  40. Commission Justice et Paix Belgique francophone
  41. Community Management Education Center
  42. Congo Calling
  43. Cordaid
  44. Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services (CorDis RDS)
  45. CORE
  46. Diakonia
  47. DKA Austria – Hilfswerk der Katholischen Jungschar
  48. Earthworks
  49. Ecumenical Network Central Africa / Ökumenisches Netz Zentralafrika
  50. Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (Rt Revd Michael Doe, Chair)
  51. Enough Project
  52. Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF)
  53. Ethical Consumer Research Association
  54. European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ)
  55. European Network for Central Africa (EurAc)
  56. FASTENOPFER/ Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund
  57. FDCL (Center for Research and Documentation Chile-Latin America)
  58. FIfF e.V.
  59. FIDH
  60. Focus on the Global South
  61. FOCSIV (a federation of 70 Italian Catholic NGOs)
  62. Forum Syd, Sweden
  63. Foundation Max van der Stoel
  64. Franciscan’s OFM JPIC Office, Rome
  65. Friends of the Earth Europe
  66. Friends of the Earth Spain
  67. Fundación Jubileo - Bolivia
  68. The Gaia Foundation (UK)
  69. GATT-RN
  70. German NGO Forum on Environment and Development / Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung
  71. Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  72. Global Policy Forum
  73. Green Network Sustainable Environment Group
  74. “Grupo Pro Africa” Network
  75. Habi Center for Environmental Rights, Cairo
  76. Hands of Unity Group
  77. IBIS
  78. Info Birmanie
  79. Indigenous Peoples Link (PIPLinks)
  80. Informationsstelle Peru (Germany)
  81. INKOTA-netzwerk e.V.
  82. Integrate: Business and Human Rights
  83. International Indian Treaty Council
  84. International-Lawyers.Org (INTLawyers)
  85. Investors Against Genocide
  86. Jamaa Resource Initiatives, Kenya
  87. Jesuit European Social Centre (JESC)
  88. Jesuit Missions
  89. Jesuitenmission Deutschland
  90. Jubilee Australia
  91. Just Minerals Campaign
  92. Justícia i Pau
  93. Khan Kaneej Aur ADHIKAR (Mines minerals & RIGHTS)
  94. kolko - Menschenrechte für Kolumbien e.V. (kolko - human rights for Colombia)
  95. Koordinierungsstelle der Österreichischen Bischofskonferenz für internationale Entwicklung und Mission (KOO)
  96. London Mining Network
  97. Magway EITI Watch Group
  98. Magway Youth Forum
  99. Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MaCEC)
  100. Medicus Mundi Alava
  101. Milieudefensie / Friends of the Earth Netherlands
  102. Mineral Policy Institute
  103. mines, minerals & PEOPLE (MMP)
  104. MiningWatch Canada
  105. Mining Watch Romania Network
  106. Misereor
  107. Mundubat
  108. Mwetaung Area Development Group
  109. Myaing Youth Development Organization
  110. The Natural Resource Women Platform
  111. NITLAPAN-UCA, Nicaragua
  112. Observatorio de Responsabilidad Social Corporativa
  113. Oidhaco (a European network of 36 NGOs)
  114. ONGAWA Ingeniería para el Desarrollo Humano
  115. Organic Agro and Farmer Affair Development Group
  116. Oxfam France
  117. Partnership Africa Canada
  118. PAX for Peace
  119. Pax Christi, Deutsche Sektion
  120. People for People
  121. Polish Institute for Human Rights and Business
  122. Pon and Ponnya Hill Resources Watch Group
  123. PowerShift e.V. (Germany)
  124. PREMICONGO (Protection des écorégions de miombo au Congo)
  125. Publish What You Pay International
  126. PWYP – Liberia
  127. PWYP UK
  128. REDES (a network of 54 NGOs)
  129. Research Group "Human rights and globalization”
  130. Réseau Belge Ressources Naturelles-Belgisch Netwerk Natuurlijke Rijkdommen
  131. Rete Pace per il Congo
  133. Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF)
  134. Servicio Agropecuario para la Investigación y Promoción Económica (SAIPE)
  135. Shwe Gas Movement (SGM)
  136. Sherpa
  137. SJ Around the Bay
  138. Slovak Centre for Communication and Development
  139. Social Care Volunteer Group
  140. Social Program Aid for Civil Education (SPACE)
  141. SOLdePaz.Pachakuti
  142. Solidarietà e Cooperazione CIPSI
  143. SOMO
  144. Stop Mad Mining
  145. Südwind, Austria
  146. SÜDWIND e.V., Germany
  147. Swedwatch
  148. Swiss Working Group on Colombia / Grupo de Trabajo Suiza Colombia
  149. Synergies des Femmes pour les victimes des Violences Sexuelles (SFVS)
  150. Torang Trust
  151. Wacam
  152. Walk Free
  153. Wan Lark Rural Development Foundation Rakhaine (Arakan)
  154. Welthaus Diözese Graz-Seckau
  155. Welthaus of the Diocese of Linz
  156. Zomi Student Association (Universities Myanmar)
  157. 88 Rakhine Generation Social Development Organization
Open Letter EU Conflict Minerals
Read more