Briefing | May 18, 2015

More than 150 civil rights groups call on MEPs to strengthen the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation

Days before a landmark vote on European conflict minerals regulation, rights groups call on politicians to vote for binding legislation requiring European companies to ensure their mineral purchases do not fund conflict or human rights abuses overseas.

Open Letter to Members of the European Parliament

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


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


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


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)


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

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