Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Conflict diamond scheme should be extended to other resources to help end Congo bloodshed

20th November 2008

Kimberley process a good model, says MEP

A successful international scheme designed to end the trade in ‘blood diamonds’ should be extended to cover other mineral resources as a way of curtailing the current bloodshed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Conservative foreign affairs spokesman in Brussels Dr Charles Tannock MEP said today.

Dr Tannock said the so-called Kimberley process – a partnership between governments and industry to prevent militias selling diamonds to pay for arms – could be more widely applied to DRC’s wealth of natural resources.

Dr Tannock said that since access to mineral resources was at the heart of the complicated conflict in DRC, a certification system like the Kimberley process would enable business and consumers to know that they have not inadvertently funded civil conflict.

Dr Tannock said that such a move would also raise ethical standards in Africa. He called on the People’s Republic of China, which has made substantial investments in mineral extraction in Africa, to take more corporate social responsibility in this regard.

He also urged more support among consuming countries for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a plan pioneered by the UK which seeks to address problems of accountability and transparency.

Dr Tannock is to raise his concerns with the Council of Ministers in the form of a written parliamentary question after speaking in today's debate.

Dr Tannock said:

“The Kimberley process has been very successful in combating the scourge of blood diamonds.

“The model of the Kimberley process could be applied more widely to cover other natural resources, especially in DRC which has such huge mineral wealth.

“The rush to exploit DRC’s resources is fuelling this conflict. Implementing a certification model similar to the Kimberley process could help to bring an end to the bloodshed.

“Ethical concerns are increasingly important for businesses and consumers so taking a step like this makes a lot of sense.

“I hope China, which has invested so heavily in mineral extraction in DRC and other countries, will realize that it has a responsibility to ensure that its own actions are not contributing to civil strife.”