During his visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gianni Pittella, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group at the European Parliament, underlined the importance of a binding European legislation for European companies concerning the production of the conflict minerals which fuel armed conflicts as well as human exploitation.

Gianni Pittella declared:

"I am addressing the leaders of all political groups in the European Parliament, especially those from the European People's Party (EPP), Manfred Weber, and the liberals, Guy Verhofstadt: together let's lead this battle for civilisation and justice. A binding regulation on the traceability of minerals is essential in order to fight effectively against human exploitation, violence and war.

"This call comes directly from the 2014 Sakharov Prize winner, Dr Denis Mukwege, and the Archbishop of South Kivu, whom I have just met during my visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"The conservatives and the liberals should be conscious of this necessity and therefore opt for the adoption of a binding legislation.

"Such a regulation should enable the EU to become a world leader in the fight against the financing of conflicts fuelled by natural resources. Europe would also demonstrate that its trade practices can and must be consistent with its goals for development and peace in the world".

The spokesperson of the S&D Group on conflict minerals, Marie Arena, added:

"These conflict minerals unfortunately end up in our products such as mobile phones, computers, refrigerators or washing machines.

"Despite the proof revealed by the United Nations corroborating the fact that some mines, whose workers are reduced to near slavery, are being used to finance violence, there are unfortunately no legal international means to retrace the origin of these minerals.

"The goal of the S&D Group in the future will be to guarantee that the list of conflict minerals is extended so as to regulate all the natural resources which fuel a conflict and human rights violations. The EU should encourage the national and local authorities to commit themselves to ending human exploitation emanating from armed groups in these mines of shame".

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