Ian Hudghton (Greens/EFA) – Many constituents have been in touch, asking this Parliament to vote for a strong EU law to break the link between mineral extraction and the financing of armed groups in areas of conflict. Profits from so-called 'conflict minerals' are being used to fuel further violence and killing. The Commission proposal seeks to combat this outrage with a voluntary scheme, but this has been tried and failed in the past. I call upon colleagues to vote for a mandatory scheme, similar to that already adopted in the United States. To be effective, the law must ensure full coverage of the supply chain. This approach would give accountability and binding regulation on everything from mine to consumer – whether it be the process of extracting the minerals, or the manufacture of the smartphones or laptops that they end up in. It is essential that companies in the supply chain are covered, so that we can be sure that the goods we all use as consumers are included. I urge my fellow MEPs to vote for an effective law, and I hope that such an approach can be agreed on by the Member State government ministers, with the Parliament and Commission, so it can be put into practice.

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