EUROPE/SPAIN - Minerals, cause of conflicts in the world: NGOs ask the EU for "a strong law"

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Madrid (Agenzia Fides) - More than 40 civil society organizations, including the NGO of the Jesuit Alboan, have signed a declaration addressed to the European Union (EU) criticizing the "insufficient and minimal impact" of the proposed European law on the extraction and trade of minerals from conflict zones, that are not addressed to favor "responsible" trade. As these organizations point out, this law "recommends but does not demand" therefore "will not guarantee the cessation of trade in minerals that finance armed groups in those countries".
This draft law regulates the extraction, supply and marketing of four minerals (tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold) by European firms. However it does not force companies to communicate their chains of extraction and distribution to the EU, leaving the freedom to do so voluntarily. The NGOs believe that the EU Commission has lost the opportunity to "make a strong law, which imposes greater control over the supply of minerals".
In the note sent to Fides, according to the UN, 40% of the conflicts in the past 60 years was in some way linked to access to mineral resources. Moreover, along with the conflicts, come the inevitable violations of human rights and increasing poverty. Faced with this situation, many organizations linked to the Church, along with several civil society groups, have been active in promoting a petition to be submitted by 18 May 2015 to the European Parliament. In fact the assembly in Strasbourg will meet in plenary session to vote on the legislation which was discussed in recent months, however, considered insufficient and ineffective. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 13/05/2015)