MEPs voted today for compulsory checks on the sources of minerals imported from conflict zones.
Under these proposals for landmark legislation, companies must make reasonable checks to ensure the step behind them in the supply chain can verify where the product came from, which will help break the link between armed conflict and the minerals trade.
Ahead of the vote, Julie said:
"As a co-founder of a Parliamentary Children’s Rights Intergroup, and given my work on the Gender Equality Committee, at the European Parliament, I am extremely concerned that these conflict minerals are mined by enslaved children, and fund conflicts that perpetuate the gravest war crimes, including the use of child soldiers, and mass sexual violence.
I was especially inspired by the call by Dr. Denis Mukwege, who has treated thousands of women victims of rape in the Congo over past decades. His impassioned appeal to the Parliament to adopt effective regulation on these minerals, along the Socialist & Democrats and Labour line must be heeded by all political groups in the Parliament."
These mandatory requirements for due diligence across the conflict mineral supply chain will potentially have an enormous global impact on the trade in conflict minerals, and as such on the enslaved children working in mines, the war-lords that enslave them, and the war crimes these minerals fund.
These proposals for mandatory requirements, which would not be burdensome to business, but would in fact shore up the position of EU businesses, were opposed by the Conservative and many on the right, and were passed as a result of a united vote from the Socialists and allies on the left, as well as sympathetic faith groups on the right.
Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, member of the European Parliament international trade committee, added:
"This vote shows how the European Union can make a real difference.
"In adopting a sensible and efficient mandatory set of rules on conflict minerals, we are joining the US in ensuring that companies will be responsible for ensuring that their suppliers are not fuelling human rights abuse and conflicts across the world. This will benefit both consumers and business."
Gianni Pitella MEP, President of the Socialist and Democrats Groups in the European Parliament, added:
"A special day to be proud of being European. We all won. Europe won. All those who fight for the respect of human rights beyond and over multinational interests have won. People of DR Congo and of all areas affected by war and violence today won. After a long and hard campaign, the S&D Group convinced the rest of EU Parliament to secure a legally binding scheme to ensure the traceability of minerals, to make sure that products sold in the EU do not fuel armed militias or foster human rights violations in conflict areas. We proved that the European Union cares about human rights and human dignity beyond empty declarations."