Sunday

18th Aug 2019

Letter

MEPs urged to adopt binding rules on conflict minerals

  • New legislation on conflict minerals 'does not envision any real change' (Photo: European Parliament)

On Wednesday (20 May), the European Parliament will vote on a proposed regulation to tackle the trade in conflict minerals.

This trade in tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold (3TG) is fuelling conflict which has had devastating consequences for people in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Colombia.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

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 percent 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.

We regret that the proposal in April 2015 by the European Parliament’s committee on International Trade on recommending binding “due diligence” requirements for approximately only 20 smelters and refiners based in Europe will not solve the problem.

There must be legal requirements governing all companies that place these minerals on the European market - in any form, not just 3TG imported by a handful of smelters.

Extending the binding requirement to tackle the entire trade effectively - not just one part of it - would put the European Union at the forefront of global efforts to create more transparent, responsible and sustainable business practices.

It would also better align Europe with OECD standards on responsible sourcing and complement existing binding rules adopted by the US and several African countries, including DRC.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have an historic opportunity to help break the links between the minerals trade, conflict and human rights abuses - such as the large-scale sexual violence in eastern DRC, which Panzi Hospital is dedicated to healing.

We call on 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.

Denis Mukwege is a Congolese gynaecologist. He was awarded the European Parliament's 2014 Sakharov Prize. This letter was co-signed by the heads of 34 NGOs

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

MEPs divided on conflict minerals scheme

EU lawmakers have clashed over which businesses should be covered by new rules on the trade of conflict minerals used to fund civil wars.

Lagarde's ECB must modernise

Christine Lagarde will succeed European Central Bank president Mario Draghi at a time of deepening polarisation among eurozone member states. It will take all of her skills as a leader and communicator to safeguard the institution's independence.

UK MPs' maths means election, not no-deal Brexit

Parliamentary arithmetic at Westminster, and societal pressures from the likes of Welsh sheep-farmers, Northern Irish cattle breeders, London business groups and Scottish Conservatives combine to push a motion of no-confidence in the prime minister by mid-October at the very latest.

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

News in Brief

  1. Trump turned down: Greenland not for sale
  2. UK Libdems would back Clarke or Harman as new PM
  3. Six countries agree to take 'Open Arms' ship migrants
  4. Gibraltar judge: Iranian ship should be released
  5. Increasing fears of a global recession
  6. Far-right hate crimes on the rise in Germany
  7. EU steel tariffs have 'worked well' so far
  8. Italian court: Migrant rescue ship can enter Italian waters

Facebook has to answer some tough questions about Libra

German MEP and member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, Markus Ferber, warns of four separate threats from Facebook's Libra. A good moment to kick off the debate would be this week's G20 summit.

Six takeaways on digital disinformation at EU elections

For example, Germany's primetime TV news reported that 47 percent of political social media discussions were related to the extreme-right AfD party, when in fact this was the case only for Twitter - used by only four percent of Germans.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings
  2. EU asked to solve migrant rescue deadlock
  3. Internal EU paper: Second Brexit vote was no longer 'distant dream'
  4. EU has 'zero incentive' to break open 'trilogue' deals
  5. Denmark plans import ban on EU-approved pesticide
  6. US offers Johnson helping hand on Brexit
  7. Italy: New government without Salvini in the making
  8. Brexit row delays financial products transparency review

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us