MEPs voted today for compulsory checks on the sources of minerals imported from conflict zones.
Under the proposals, 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.
David Martin MEP, member of the European Parliament’s International Trade committee and Labour's European spokesperson on conflict minerals, said:
“In Europe we have had voluntary guidelines in place for five years and more than 80 per cent of companies have chosen not to publish any information on their supply chain due diligence. A mandatory scheme was absolutely vital to stop unscrupulous European companies using minerals for which they either do not know or do not care about the origins.
"Natural resources have been a boon for some countries but a curse for Africa. Today with this vote we now have an opportunity to stop the exploitation of workers in Africa and the widespread human rights abuses which are caused by conflict minerals.
"We have seen enough of bleeding hearts within the Conservatives. What we need is action to turn the minerals curse into a blessing. Unlike the Tories, Labour believes consumers should be able to buy products safe in the knowledge they are not fuelling conflict, slavery or child exploitation. I am extremely pleased the European Parliament has supported these proposals by the S&D Group. 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 and please the many thousands of UK citizens who have been contacting their MEPs before this important vote.
"These mandatory requirements, while not burdensome on any one link in the supply chain, will make a huge difference to those on the ground in conflict areas. We now encourage individual EU Member State governments to give their support to reaching an agreement on this legislation."