European raw material policies are undermining human rights

MadMiningLogoThe campaign “Stop Mad Mining” – carried out by thirteen environmental and human rights NGOs from Europe and Central America – advocates against the inhuman and environmentally destructive extraction of raw materials in the Global South

Berlin, 27th March 2015 – The Christian Initiative Romero (CIR) and PowerShift have launched a campaign which advocates that the EU regulation on conflict minerals contains binding agreements on human rights. The Berlin press conference drew attention to the fact that their extraction is associated with the financing of civil wars, human rights violations, environmental destruction, land grabbing, impoverishment of communities and catastrophic labour conditions.

These same problems can also be observed in the extraction of other minerals, such as copper, and fossil fuels, such as coal, gas and oil.

The purpose of the EU regulation is to curtail the trade of conflict minerals. However, according to Michael Reckordt of PowerShift, it is a “toothless tiger”, as it focuses on voluntary principles for the affected companies. It does this instead of implementing binding regulations throughout the supply chain, as is already the case in the USA and other African countries. The current proposal may even undermine existing standards.

The campaign “Stop Mad Mining – For Ethical Mining and Resource Consumption” is made up of thirteen non-profit-organisations (NGOs) who are lobbying European politicians – especially those in the European Parliament – in order to tighten regulations around the extractive industries. The campaign is also aiming to make European citizens more aware of their impact through the consumption of raw materials. Those citizens can then use their better understanding, as consumers and activists, to support Southern countries and sustainable development.

Another campaign demand is around the right of mining-affected communities to give or withhold their consent to proposed mining projects. An example of this, mentioned in the press conference, is the community of Nueva Trinidad in El Salvador. Marcos Galves, CEO of CRIPDES, a partner organisation of the campaign complains that “we witnessed during the exploration of the “El Dorado” mine that fresh water sources were drying out and six people from resisting movements were killed”. A community referendum will take place on March 29, organised by CRIPDES.

The launch of the campaign is happening together with the international call for the “Green Go Short Film Contest”, organised by the Hungarian partner “CEEweb” which in 2015 focuses on over-consumption and the social and environmental consequences of raw material extraction.  Find more information at

The campaign is happening within the “European Year of Development 2015” and is funded under the EuropeAid programme.






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