Press Release

Open letter to the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the Member States of the European Union

Fairphone - Washing the copper ore; under Creative Commons license A mine in Congo (c) Fairphone with CClicense[/caption] 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,

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