MEPs back EU action to break link between armed conflict and the minerals trade

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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.

Voluntary guidelines have been in place for years in Europe and have been taken up by very few businesses.

David Martin MEP, member of the European Parliament international trade committee and Labour's European spokesperson on conflict minerals, said:

"We have seen enough of bleeding hearts within the Conservatives. What we need is action to turn the minerals curse into a blessing - yet David Cameron's party refuse to support effective action on blood minerals.

"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.

"A mandatory scheme is absolutely vital and I am extremely pleased the European Parliament has supported these proposals by the S&D Group. There have been 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.

"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 need the support of EU Member State governments to reach an agreement on this legislation."

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."

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