Open Letter to the EU regarding new regulation on the import of minerals

Open Letter to the EU regarding new regulation on the import of minerals
13th June 2016 Christliche Initiative Romero

The Stop Mad Mining network signed with 130 other organizations the open letter addressed to the European Union. Currently, the EU negotiates a new regulation that regulates the import of minerals.

The signatories urge the EU for a strong and effective regulation to perform some basic checks and due diligence on their supply chains.

A decision is expected by end of this week.

Read here the complete letter and all signing organizations:

 

OPEN LETTER TO THE DUTCH PRESIDENCY OF THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION AND THE MENBER STATES OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

Minerals are key components in many everyday products, from mobile phones, laptops, and jewellery, to cars and light bulbs. In too many cases, however, the extraction and trade of these resources is linked to conflicts and human rights abuses. Civil society organisations have been documenting the links between minerals and these abuses for years, from their role in funding violent armed groups to the use of child labour in mines. But these abuses persist, and companies are still buying and using such minerals without assessing and addressing these risks. It is time to change the status quo. It is time for EU governments to take effective legislative action to ensure companies source minerals responsibly, transparently and sustainably.

EU institutions are currently working on a regulation that aims to tackle the sometimes deadly trade in four of these minerals – tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold.

This initiative is long overdue. The EU is the largest trading block in the world and a significant destination for these minerals. The EU is also a major market for many of the products that contain these minerals; it is the second largest importer of mobile phones and laptops in the world. With this come both a responsibility and the power to make a real difference by making sure its companies are sourcing minerals responsibly.

The EU also needs to show it is serious about meeting its stated commitments on promoting responsible business. Under its new trade strategy, the Commission argues that the “responsible management of global supply chains is essential to align trade policy with European values.”(1)

In the minerals sector, the leading international standard for responsible business is the Due Diligence Guidance developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).(2) This standard has been endorsed by the EU and by doing so it made a commitment to implementing it. Unfortunately, EU Member States have instead been dragging their feet and, as a result, have little to show from years of voluntary initiatives and encouragement.

As civil society organisations we have therefore called for a strong and effective regulation that would require all companies bringing these minerals into the EU – in whatever form – to perform some basic checks and due diligence on their supply chains, as is common in other sectors from food to financial services. Our calls have been echoed by business leaders, investors, religious leaders, and leading civil society activists. Through over 362,000 actions (3),

EU citizens have also made it clear that they expect to be able to purchase products that have been sourced responsibly, transparently and sustainably.

In May 2015 the European Parliament took a strong stance by voting for a binding law that would cover companies importing into the EU minerals in their raw form, as well as in products containing them. But more than a year later, negotiations are still ongoing. Member States, in particular, have pushed back, promoting voluntary measures and self-regulation by business, while seeking to entirely exempt companies that import products containing these minerals from the scope of the law.

The Dutch government, acting as President of the Council of the EU, has worked hard to secure an agreement over the past few months. We recognise and welcome this initiative that has introduced some much needed momentum into negotiations, but there is still work to be done to find an agreement that will effectively tackle the conflict and human rights risks in the mineral supply chains.

Including companies that import products containing minerals in the regulation will be vital to its effectiveness and impact.

Many of the minerals that risk being linked to human rights abuses and conflict enter the EU inside manufactured products, and it is as a major destination for such products that the EU exerts its most significant commercial leverage over the supply chain. Companies that import these products must be covered by the regulation if the EU is to establish an effective due diligence system which prompts companies throughout the supply chain to identify and mitigate the risk of contributing to conflict and human rights violations through their business activities. The OECD Due Diligence system is specifically designed to include companies along the entire supply chain. This ensures responsibilities are distributed fairly and manageably while building the critical mass and momentum needed to develop joint industry programmes and collaboration that make due diligence easier and more efficient for everyone.

We are calling on the Council to listen not only to the European Parliament, but also to the many activists, investors, civil society, and citizens that have called for a strong and effective EU law. At a minimum, this means a regulation that covers companies that import into the EU minerals in their raw form as well as companies that import products containing these minerals.

We also urge the Dutch government to make full use of its remaining time as President of the Council of the EU and continue to facilitate a constructive dialogue between the co-legislators. There is still time to deliver the regulation that the EU, and the communities that provide the resources upon which we are increasingly dependent, both deserve and need.

(1) European Commission Strategy: “Trade for All: Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy”, October 2015

(2) OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible supply chains of minerals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas

(3) Through petitions and e-mails addressed to EU decision-makers since May 2015:
http://stop-mad-mining.org/2016/04/06/conflict-minerals-eu-trade-commissioner-malmstrom-takes-over-41-675-voices-for-a-binding-regulation/
http://www.justicepaix.be/conflict-minerals/
http://www.progressio.org.uk/conflictminerals
https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/26125-stop-blood-minerals?locale=en
https://www.walkfree.org/tackle-conflict-minerals-trade/
http://www.tecnologialibredeconflicto.org/en/firma/

Yours sincerely,

1     Amnesty International
2     Global Witness
3     ACCIÓN LIBERADORA, Fundación / member of REDES-ONGD
4     ACCION MARIANISTA PARA EL DESARROLLO,  FUNDACION / member of REDES-ONGD
5     Acción verapaz / member of REDES-ONGD
6     ACRESCERE, FUNDACIÓN / member of REDES-ONGD
7     Action Aid
8     AES-CCC
9     Afro-Asiatisches Institut in Wien
10     Agir Ensemble pour les Droits de l’Homme
11     Alboan
12     AMANI , Laicos Combonianos por el Sur / member of REDES-ONGD
13     AMARANTA, Fundación de Solidaridad / member of REDES-ONGD
14     AMI ONLUS  (Associazione Maendeleo-Italia ONLUS)
15     Amigos de la Tierra – Spain
16     AMSALA / member of REDES-ONGD
17     Associazione Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII
18     Associazione Tumaini – un Ponte di Solidarietà
19     BAJAR A LA CALLE SIN FRONTERAS / member of REDES-ONGD
20     BAJAR A LA CALLE SIN FRONTERAS / member of REDES-ONGD
21     BENITO MENI, FUNDACIÓN / member of REDES-ONGD
22     Berne Declaration, Switzerland
23     Broederlijk Delen (Belgium)
24     Bruder und Schwester in Not – Diözese Innsbruck, Austria
25     BUEN PASTOR / member of REDES-ONGD
26     Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
27     CALASANCIO ONG / member of REDES-ONGD
28     CCFD-Terre Solidaire
29     CEEweb for Biodiversity
30     Celim Milano
31     Christian Aid
32     Christliche Initiative Romero
33     CIDSE
34     CMSR Centro Mondialità Sviluppo Reciproco
35     Comissió Justícia i Pau Barcelona
36     Comitato delle associazioni per la Pace e i Diritti Umani
37     Comitato trentino NOPPAW
38     Commission Justice et Paix Belgique francophone
39     COMPASIÓN, SOCOES / member of REDES-ONGD
40     Coordinamento Associazioni della Vallagarina per l’Africa
41     CORAZONISTAS, FUNDACIÓN / member of REDES-ONGD
42     Cordaid
43     COVIDE-AMVE / member of REDES-ONGD
44     CRUZ BLANCA, Fundación / member of REDES-ONGD
45     CSD – CONGREGACIÓN  DE SANTO DOMINGO / member of REDES-ONGD
46     CVM Comunità Volontari per il Mondo
47     Danish Confederation of Trade Unions
48     Delwende, ONGD / member of REDES-ONGD
49     Diakonia
50     DIGNIDAD Y SOLIDARIDAD / member of REDES-ONGD
51     DKA Austria
52     ECOSOL SORD / member of REDES-ONGD
53     ENTRECULTURAS / member of REDES-ONGD
54     ESTEBAN G. VIGIL, FUNDACIÓN / member of REDES-ONGD
55     EurAc
56     European Coalition for Corporate Justice – ECCJ
57     FASFI – FUNDACIÓN AYUDA SOLIDARIA / member of REDES-ONGD
58     Federazione Organismi Cristiani di Servizio Internazionale Volontario -FOCSIV
59     FIDH
60     Finance & Trade Watch, Austria
61     FISC – FUNDACIÓN INTERNACIONAL DE SOLIDARIDAD COMPAÑÍA DE MARÍA / member of REDES-ONGD
62     FONDAZIONE INTERNAZIONALE BUON PASTORE ONLUS
63     Forest Peoples Programme, United Kingdom
64     Forschungs- und Dokumentationszentrum Chile-Lateinamerika e.V
65     FRATERNIDAD MISIONERA DEL SAGRADO CORAZÓN / member of REDES-ONGD
66     Friends of the Earth Europe
67     FUNDACIÓN AMIGÓ / member of REDES-ONGD
68     Fundación Mainel
69     FundEO, FUNDACION ENRIQUE  DE OSSÓ / member of REDES-ONGD
70     FUNESO, FUNDACION EDUCATIVA SOLIDARIA / member of REDES-ONGD
71     German Watch
72     Gruppo Autonomo Volontari per la Cooperazione e lo Sviluppo del Terzo Mondo
73     HAREN ALDE / member of REDES-ONGD
74     Institute of Global Responsibility – Poland
75     ITAKA, FUNDACION / member of REDES-ONGD
76     Jesuit European Social Center – JESC
77     Jesuit Missions
78     Jesuit Refugee Service International Office
79     JUAN CIUDAD ONGD  para la salud / member of REDES-ONGD
80     KARIT  Solidarios por la paz / member of REDES-ONGD
81     KOO- Koordinierungsstelle der Österr. Bischofskonferenz f. internationale Entwicklung und Mission
82     KORIMA CLARETIANAS SUR / member of REDES-ONGD
83     La Bretxa
84     LADESOL, LAZOS DE SOLIDARIDADFUNDACION / member of REDES-ONGD
85     LARES,  FUNDACION / member of REDES-ONGD
86     Latin American Mining Monitoring programme – LAMMP
87     London Mining Network
88     MADRESELVA, Fundación / member of REDES-ONGD
89     MARY WARD, FUNDACIÓN / member of REDES-ONGD
90     MERCEDARIAS MISIONERAS DE BERRIZ – MMB / member of REDES-ONGD
91     Milieudefensie, Friends of the Earth Netherlands
92     Misereor
93     MISIÓN SIN FRONTERAS, Amigos de Comboni / member of REDES-ONGD
94     OCASHA,  Cristianos con el Sur / member of REDES-ONGD
95     Ökumenisches Netz Zentralafrika
96     p.h Balanced Films
97     Panzi Foundation (USA
98     PMU
99     Polish Institute for Human Rights and Business
100     Power Shift e.V
101     PROCLADE BETICA, Fundación / member of REDES-ONGD
102     PROCLADE CANARIAS, Fundación / member of REDES-ONGD
103     PROCLADE, FUNDACIÓN / member of REDES-ONGD
104     PROKARDE, / member of REDES-ONGD
105     PROLIBERTAS, FUNDACIÓN / member of REDES-ONGD
106     PROYDE, ASOCIACIÓN / member of REDES-ONGD
107     PROYDE-PROEGA / member of REDES-ONGD
108     PUEBLOS HERMANOS, PPHH / member of REDES-ONGD
109     Rete Pace per il Congo
110     RSJG, SAN JOSÉ DE GERONA / member of REDES-ONGD
111     SAL, SOLIDARIDAD CON AMÉRICA LATINA / member of REDES-ONGD
112     Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund
113     SED, SOLIDARIDAD, EDUCACIÓN, DESARROLLO / member of REDES-ONGD
114     SELVAS AMAZÓNICAS / member of REDES-ONGD
115     Sherpa
116     SIEMPRE ADELANTE, FUNDACIÓN / member of REDES-ONGD
117     Signos solidarios, Fundación / member of REDES-ONGD
118     Siloé, Asociación / member of REDES-ONGD
119     Solidarietà e Cooperazione
120     Solidarietà-Muungano Onlus
121     Solidaritat Castelldefels Kasando
122     SOMASCA EMILIANI, EMILIANI ongd,  FUNDACIÓN / member of REDES-ONGD
123     SOMO
124     SPINOLA SOLIDARIA / member of REDES-ONGD
125     Stop Mad Mining
126     SÜDWIND
127     TALLER DE SOLIDARIDAD, FUNDACIÓN / member of REDES-ONGD
128     TRABAJO Y DIGNIDAD,  FUNDACION / member of REDES-ONGD
129     Urgewald Germany
130     Welthaus Dioezese Graz-Seckau

 

Photo: Enough Project