In many places around the world affected by conflicts, the exploitation and trade of natural resources finances many armed groups, responsible for serious abuses of local populations. We all can take action in order to put an end to this violence…

In sourcing resources coming from conflict-affected or high-risk areas, European businesses are at risk of fuelling violence to the detriment of human rights, peace and development. In this way, “blood minerals” find their way into our computers, our telephones, our cars…

Alerted to this by European citizens, the European Commission has proposed a law aiming to ensure responsible sourcing of minerals by businesses when they source from conflict-affected zones. The stated objective is to break the links between natural resources and conflicts, as is the case in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the last 15 years where populations are made to suffer mutilation, massacres, rape, slavery and massive displacement perpetrated by armed groups whose financing is mainly based upon the riches of the subsoil.

Unfortunately, the proposed text is largely insufficient. Voluntary, it does not require the businesses concerned to investigate their supply chains but is content only to “encourage” them to do so. What’s more, the European Commission restricts the law to four minerals (tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold). This neglects the fact that there are actually many other natural resources that contribute to abuses around the world, such as copper, jade and rubies in Myanmar, but also coal in Colombia as well as diamonds in Zimbabwe and Central Africa. Lastly, the regulation limits its scope to only 480 European businesses. The impact on the ground and thus on affected populations risks being minimal.

The European Parliament will in the very near future give its opinion on the proposed law. Through their involvement in the 3 Parliamentary committees particularly concerned by this file (International Trade, Foreign Affairs and Development), certain European Parliamentarians will play a key role!

Let’s demand from European Parliamentarians that they vote in favor of an effective regulation that will contribute to reestablishing peace !