Monday, 25 May 2015

Congolese Minerals to be certified by the European Union

In the last 20 years, the main beneficially of Congo blood minerals has been the notorious dictator of Rwanda, Paul Kagame and his foreign boyfriends such as Tony Blair, Bill Clinton,etc. This has enabled the so called powerful in the west to shamelessly indulge themselves in Congolese blood because Rwanda is a true pattern of U.S. indulgence, 

The eastern DRC and the Great Lakes indexed

Now, to be considered compliant and wash all suspicion, European importers must obtain a compulsory certification by the European Parliament. This is what emerged from 402 votes in favor, 118 against and 171 abstentions by MEPs.that voted.

European importers of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold must be certified by the European Union (EU) to ensure they do not fuel conflicts and violations of human rights in areas of conflict-a final draft will be communicated to everyone concerned.

With this vote, MEPs thus reversed the Commission's proposal and that adopted by the Committee on International Trade and called for mandatory compliance for "all Union importers' sourcing in conflict zones.

By asking this act, they simply want to prevent the warlords in regions such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Great Lakes region, to benefit from the sale of minerals and metals.
For five years, there has been a voluntary process in the supply chain due diligence, but more than 80% of companies have decided not to disclose information about their sources. In March 2014, the European Commission (EC)  proposed a self-certification regime for European companies, but Parliament rejected the proposal and demanded tougher laws. MEPs have called for mandatory compliance for "all importers of the Union" sourcing in conflict zones.

To further strengthen the measure, companies involved downstream, that is to say, 880 000 EU companies potentially affected that use tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold in the manufacture of products consumption will also have the obligation to inform the measures they are taking to identify and address risks in their supply chains of minerals and metals involved.

Foundries and refineries, the last point for the traceability of minerals

The allusion is made particularly to foundries and gold refineries are the last point where the origin (traceability) of minerals can be effectively drawn. MEPs go beyond the approach of "self-certification" of the Commission and require European companies to submit to audits by independent third parties for the exercise of due diligence.

MEPs also asked the Commission to provide micro-enterprises and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who want financial aid certification through the Commission COSME (EU program for business competitiveness and SMEs).

Parliament also stressesed the stricter monitoring of the scheme, with a review two years after its implementation and every three years thereafter (instead of three and six years respectively, as planned by the Commission).

It is common knowledge that permanent armed conflicts that have marred the Congo DRC for over a decade  are rooted in illicit and illegal exploitation of natural resources that abounds this part of the country.

Moreover, the European Parliament stresses that the affected areas are currently the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes region. However, the bill does not mention specific regions but defines "areas affected by conflict or high risk" such as those in situations of armed conflict, with widespread violence, collapse of civil infrastructure areas fragile as a result of conflict and areas where governance and security are weak or absent, characterised by "widespread and systematic violations of human rights".

After a vote of 343 votes, 331 against and 9 abstentions, MEPs decided not to close their position at first reading and to start informal negotiations with the Member States to agree on a final version of the legislation . What will therefore constituted the next stage of the struggle against blood minerals from conflict zones.

Remember, tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold are used in many consumer products in the EU, in particular by automotive and machinery industries, electronics, aerospace, the packaging, construction, lighting, industrial and tooling, as well as in the jewelery sector. The next legislation potentially concerns 880 000 EU manufacturers, most of which are SMEs.

Human rights and avoid fuelinging armed conflict

Soon, says one, European standards of due diligence on supply chains will be based on the recommendations of the OECD Due Diligence Guide, which are designed to help companies respect human rights rights and avoid contributing to conflict through their purchases of minerals from conflict zones or high risk.

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