Green team commit to conflict free minerals

The team of Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, are demonstrating their commitment to conflict free minerals by switching to smartphones from Fairphone, a social enterprise seeking to raise awareness about conflict minerals in electronics and the wars that they fuel [1]. Fairphone ensure their smartphones are made with conflict-free minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Green Party has been pushing for a number of years for firm action on conflict minerals [2] and has argued that current EU proposals lack ambition and fall well short of the comprehensive and binding rules needed [3].

Molly Scott Cato MEP said:

“The extraction of minerals and resources in developing countries should lead to the improvement of lives; not used to fund or fuel conflict. The phenomenon of conflict minerals is now well-known and we have plenty of evidence to act. There can be no excuses. I am delighted my team are playing their part by switching to the conflict-free Fairphone and pleased I am part of a group in the European Parliament that is pushing for tougher legislation.”

The fact that conflict minerals fund rebel groups in some of the world’s poorest countries is well documented. They contribute to political and economic instability while neglecting workers’ rights, safety and their ability to earn fair wages. Congo Calling [4] is a charity which has been campaigning for the development of fair trade technology which uses ethically-sourced, conflict-free minerals from the DRC. Director Bandi Mbubi said:

“I am delighted Molly Scott Cato and the Green Party are pushing for the introduction of an EU-wide mandatory legal framework that compels companies which source their minerals from the DRC to carry out due diligence in order to break the link between our immense natural resources and the war there. 

“Congo Calling welcomes the Green Party’s effort in the European Parliament to introduce a robust legal framework which ensures that illegal armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other conflict-affected countries do not finance their activities through profit from the illicit trade in conflict-minerals.” 

Notes

[1] The Fairphone social enterprise focuses on sourcing conflict-free minerals direct from the conflict zone of the DRC ensuring support for alternatives to current mining practices that empower workers and improve the livelihoods of the local population. Further information: http://www.fairphone.com/

[2] http://www.greens-efa.eu/conflict-minerals-11890.html

[3] http://pr.euractiv.com/pr/timid-commission-proposals-fall-short-what-needed-tackle-conflict-minerals-104732

[4] The Congo Calling campaign was launched in the south west at TEDxExeter 2012: http://www.congocalling.org/

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