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European Parliament defies lobbying to vote for strong conflict minerals regulation

Children working in the Twangiza gold fields, South Kivu, eastern DRC, April 2009. Credit: AI/IPIS

If European governments follow suit, this law would represent a sea change in what is expected of companies when the minerals in their products come from countries riven by conflict.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL & GLOBAL WITNESS

JOINT NEWSFLASH

20 May 2015

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have made history today by voting in favour of a strong and binding law to tackle the deadly trade in conflict minerals, said Amnesty International and Global Witness.

Today’s vote determines the position with which the European Parliament (EP) enters into negotiations with Member States and the Commission to find an agreement on the law.

“This is a historic moment. MEPs have voted for a law that should make a real difference to the lives of those suffering under the trade in conflict minerals”, said Michael Gibb of Global Witness “Despite concerted efforts by big business to weaken the legislation, MEPs have clearly positioned themselves for a strong, binding law that is fit for purpose. This would put Europe at the helm of global efforts to clean up the minerals trade and encourage businesses to source minerals in a way that benefits local communities, not armed groups.”

“The European Parliament has sent a clear signal. European firms cannot turn a blind eye to the risk their operations contribute to human rights abuses abroad,” said Lucy Graham, legal advisor in Amnesty International’s Business and Human Rights team. “If the European Council follows suit, this law would represent a sea change in what is expected of companies when the minerals in their products come from countries riven by conflict.”

The groundbreaking proposal would require European companies importing four key minerals – tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold - to ensure their purchases are not contributing to conflict or human rights abuses in other countries. Crucially, the new law would also require European companies importing minerals in products, such as laptops and mobile phones, to source minerals responsibly for the first time.

Today’s vote determines the position with which the European Parliament (EP) enters into negotiations with Member States and Commission to find an agreement on the law.

For further information, please see yesterday’s press release: European Parliament looks set to cave in to big business over conflict minerals trade

For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Stefanie Mair
Media & Communications Assistant
Amnesty International European Institutions Office
Email: aieur-comms@amnesty.eu
Telephone: +32 (0)2 548 27 73
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