HUMAN RIGHTS campaigners marched on Whitehall yesterday to deliver a 41,000-strong petition opposing Britain’s use of “bloody” mobile phones to Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond.
Mr Hammond was urged to support EU legislation curbing the use of conflict minerals in electronic goods, such as mobile phones and surgical instruments.
The protest took place while representatives of EU member states met in Brussels to discuss new laws that would ban the use of metals mined in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Colombia and Burma.
Britain is currently arguing against requiring European companies to reveal the sources of the metals they use.
London Mining Network spokeswoman Graciela Romero said: “This is a chance for the UK government to challenge the colonial patterns of the mining industry.
“Rather than continue to violently and unaccountably extract wealth from countries in the global South, this is a moment to use European consumer power to take a stand against the deadliest kinds of resource extraction.
“Though the EU law could be stronger and more wide-reaching, it offers a strong starting point if the UK and other member states are willing to back mandatory supply-chain reporting.”
As part of the protest in Whitehall, a giant inflatable mobile phone dripping in fake blood was paraded by comedian Danny Chivers.
Tantalum, tungsten, tin and gold are some of the metals extracted in countries where the trade in such commodities fuels violence and human rights abuses.
Congo Calling activist Bandi Mbubi said: “The sale of these minerals frequently funds the horrific violence of the ongoing war in my country.”