IPIS Insights: The EU draft law on conflict minerals due diligence: a critical assessment from a business & human rights standpoint

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On the 5th of March 2014, the European Commission proposed a responsible trading strategy for minerals from conflict zones. The proposal took place within a specific and timely context. As IPIS has long documented, the exploitation of natural resources can have adverse human rights impacts. Businesses operating in conflict-affected or fragile regions should therefore ascertain whether their direct operations or their business relationships with other parties, including through their supply chains, have fueled or funded conflict and/or human rights abuse.

When EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht presented the strategy on 5 March, he declared that it would meet the EU’s responsibility to ensure that the ‘global trade in goods’ also leads to ‘good trade’, meaning ‘responsible’ trade. Yet, despite the expectation and time surrounding the EU’s approach to conflict minerals, when the Regulation was proposed, it was met with disappointment and criticism from many in the international community.

This Insight offers a closer look at the proposed EU Regulation.

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