STATEMENT FROM DR. DENIS MUKWEGE: EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT VOTE ON BINDING CONFLICT MINERALS LEGISLATION "IS A VICTORY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS."

(STRASBOURG, FRANCE) "The vote in Strasbourg at the European Parliament regarding conflict minerals is a victory for human rights. We are at a turning point in the dialogue. The legislation mandates refiners, smelters, manufacturers, and importers of products containing tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold to ensure the components are sourced responsibly through upstream and downstream channels. The new law demonstrates ethical governance is not only possible, but required. 

 "A decisive majority of the Members of the Parliament (MEPs) prioritized the comprehensive nature and scope of this law. This law provides the position and framework for negotiations with Member States and the Commission, and it reflects the progress made through binding legislation in the DRC, several other African Nations, and the United States. 

"A conflict-free minerals industry would contribute to ending the unspeakable violence the people of Congo have endured for years. Government must not only enact strong legislation, they must be willing to enforce the law. Companies bear the responsibility of compliance and public disclosure, and acting transparently as consumers are increasingly aware of conflict-free components on the market.

"Tens of thousands of legitimate miners would benefit from a clean, transparent minerals industry. Communities and families torn apart by conflict deserve a viable path to peace. At the Panzi Hospital, we have treated 40,000 survivors of sexual violence. Their bodies are used as the battlefield, leaving them with physical and psychological scars as a result. The mineral trade is one of the components that drive suffering in Congo. 

"The European Parliament has made a strong commitment today. It is my hope the Member States will strengthen their commitment as well. The conflict has cost too many lives and livelihoods. We must act in unison to bring peace and transparency to the mineral trade."

This statement is also available in French. Interview or speaking engagement requests for Dr. Mukwege, CoFounder Dr. Lee Ann De Reus, or Executive Director Naama Haviv, may be submitted via email or telephone to Elizabeth Blackney, ElizabethB@pfusa.org541.390.1913.  

Panzi Foundation USA is a 501(c)3 organization, founded in 2010 by Dr. Denis Mukwege with Dr. Lee Ann De Reus and Peter Frantz to  build awareness,  and support the work of our partners, primarily the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, DR Congo. Photography of survivors at the hospital requires special arrangements.http://www.panzifoundation.org