• NEWS: S&Ds win the first battle for justice on the traceability of conflict minerals

    Over the last two years, we have fought a lonely but ethical political battle to ban 'conflict minerals' – sources of minerals which feed conflict and violence – from the European market. Finally, thanks to the stubbornness and political commitment of S&D Group leader Gianni Pittella, our spokesperson on conflict minerals Marie Arena and the S&D chair of the international trade committee Bernd Lange, the European Parliament reached an agreement with the EU Council for a new regulation on 15 June 2016.

    Despite strong Conservative opposition, the Socialists and Democrats secured a legally binding scheme to ensure traceability. The goal of the S&D Group is to ensure that regulating the use of conflict minerals is not some optional add on, but is mandatory.

    This has struck a harsh blow to the criminal militias that, in many regions of the world, especially in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), massacre, abuse and rape women and children in order to exploit the mining of tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold. European citizens must be now aware that their tablet, mobile phone or PC are likely to be made of minerals stained with innocent blood. We are fighting to stop this.

    The conflict minerals problem is not and cannot just be considered as a trade issue. Thanks to strong pressure from NGOs and public opinion in the press and social media, we managed to persuade the Conservative members of the European Parliament, as well as national governments, that a mandatory system for raw materials was needed to ensure transparency in the sector. We have proved that the European Union cares about human rights and human dignity – beyond empty declarations and financial interests.

    Europe must treat Africa as a political partner and stop considering it as a land to be exploited.

    We count on your support and mobilisation to keep up the pressure – the fight is not over!

    Photo credit: Gwenn Dubourthoumieu/AFP

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    A STRONGER AFRICA-EU PARTNERSHIP

    A more mature and contemporary Africa-EU partnership can help us address the global challenges we face. Together we can strengthen democracy and human rights, and foster sustainable economic and human development in our societies.

    Good co-ordination of the EU's external policies is vital if we want to make the most of the global opportunities we are presented with and be a responsible actor on the international stage.

S&D Group Africa Week 2017

The S&D Group is delighted to announce the second S&D Group Africa Week. The event will address the theme ‘Youth and the future of Africa’ and will take place from Monday 25 to Thursday 28 September in Brussels.

The event is organised by the S&D Group in partnership with the Global Progressive Forum and in co-operation with the Foundation for European Progressive Studies, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the International Union of Socialist Youth, the Party of European Socialists, Solidar, Rainbow Rose and the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Further updates and a full programme will follow soon.

Empowering women

Women’s rights are first and foremost human rights, but societies where women can expect justice and equal opportunities are also more successful. We believe therefore that empowering women is not only a matter of justice, but also essential for building successful societies.

We are working together with other international partners to empower African women, defend their rights and prevent violence and discrimination. To this end, we strive to ensure that the rights of women are respected, that access to education is available for all and that violence against women is eliminated – in law and in practice. The S&Ds also want to see the empowerment of women lead to greater participation in the political life of their communities.  

Young people

Empowering young people means investing in people by creating an environment where they can achieve their potential. Empowered and educated young people are vital for the future of their communities – and for the entire world. We believe that with co-ordinated action between African and European partners, young Africans can make the difference in tackling global, regional and local challenges.

We are convinced that creating opportunities for young Africans is crucial: they have an enormous potential to shape their societies, foster democracy and the rule of law, promote human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as finding innovative solutions to the issues they face. We call for free high-quality education, investment in skills and improving employment opportunities

Environment

The Paris agreement reached in December 2015 was a milestone in the international efforts to combat climate change. Yet, much more work is needed to help those who are already feeling the effects of these changes. Some African countries are particularly vulnerable and face the threat of famine, forced migration and even new conflicts.

The S&D Group is committed to improving the resilience of local populations and helping them prevent and reduce disaster risks – and to ensuring adequate resources are allocated. In the same vein, we wish to see Africa fulfilling its potential and becoming a world leader in the production and use of renewable and efficient energy that respects environmental standards.

Field visits

S&D Field Visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo

From 7 to 12 April 2015, a delegation of S&D MEPs, led by the President Gianni Pittella, visited the Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC) to meet with the DRC Government and officials, the Sakharov Prize Laureate Dr Mukwege, as well as civil society and business representatives working in the fields of human rights, democracy and the fight against conflict minerals.
 
The S&D Group has made violence against women and the banning of conflict minerals a top priority of its political action in the European Parliament. The aim of the fact-finding mission was to grasp the reality faced by victims of war and violence, and to better understand how the European Union can help local communities overcome 20 years of civil war.

This visit is the first of a series of fact-finding missions fully integrated in the Group's new strategic approach to Africa.
 
The full programme of the RDC visit is available to download here.

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