The OECD has gotten mining companies together to sign an agreement on what they will and won’t do. Joan Esteban pointed me to Annex 2, on the lists of things the companies commit not to do:
While sourcing from, or operating in, conflict-affected and high-risk areas, we will neither tolerate nor by any means profit from, contribute to, assist with or facilitate the commission by any party of:
- any forms of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment;
- any forms of forced or compulsory labour, which means work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of penalty and for
which said person has not offered himself voluntarily;
- the worst forms of child labour;
- other gross human rights violations and abuses such as widespread
- war crimes or other serious violations of international humanitarian
law, crimes against humanity or genocide.
We will immediately suspend or discontinue engagement with upstream suppliers where we identify a reasonable risk that they are sourcing from, or linked to, any party committing serious abuses as defined in paragraph 1.
We will not tolerate any direct or indirect support to non-state armed groups through the extraction, transport, trade, handling or export of minerals. “Direct or indirect support” to non-state armed groups through the extraction, transport, trade, handling or export of minerals includes, but is not limited to, procuring minerals from, making payments to or otherwise providing logistical assistance or equipment to, non-state armed groups or their affiliates who…
The list goes on and on.
While on the one hand you might think “I’m so glad they are agreeing to this”, the other reaction is “good grief, you mean that this agreement actually still has to be negotiated and signed in 2014!?”
Also, a medium depressing afterthought: “They wouldn’t have bothered to agree if they didn’t think it was in their financial interests.”