As a member of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), Defend International has sent a letter to the European Mint Directors Working Group, urging them to remove the South Korean company Poongsan – a cluster bomb producer and a world leader for EU coin blanks – from its list of vetted suppliers.
The Cluster Munition Coalition has stated that Poongsan is a major player on the European and global markets for the production of coin blanks that are used by the manufacturer of coins for the production of their national coins.
“However, Poongsan is also a known producer of cluster munitions,” the CMC’s Stop Explosive Investments team said. “Last year, the Dutch television programme Keuringsdienst van Waarde broadcasted a revealing episode that uncovered the alarming link between European mints and cluster munitions producer Poongsan…
Poongsan features on the suppliers list of the Mint Directors Working Group (MDWG). The MDWG was created by the European Commission and consists (mainly) of the directors of the European mints. They maintain a list of approved suppliers for coin blanks – Poongsan is one of the companies included on this list. The list is under review so this is our chance to make it clear this is unacceptable.”
Defend International’s letter to the MDWG read in part:
“Defend International, a member of the international Cluster Munition Coalition, urges the European Mint Directors Working Group to remove Poongsan from its list of vetted suppliers.
119 nations have joined the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) which bans the production, use, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions because of their indiscriminate effects. Poongsan, however continues to produce these globally banned weapons.
It has come to our attention that the South Korean company Poongsan is on the list of vetted suppliers of coin blanks to countries within the European Union. However, the Cluster Munition Monitor and the report ‘Worldwide investments in cluster munitions; a shared responsibility’ by PAX (the Netherlands) identify Poongsan as involved with the production of cluster munitions.
In April 2016, a Dutch television show revealed that Poongsan was a supplier of coin blanks to the Royal Dutch Mint. Following the broadcast, Dutch parliamentarians raised parliamentary questions about this issue, as the Netherlands is a State Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions and moreover one of 10 countries that has legislation prohibiting direct investments in producers of cluster munitions. The Royal Dutch Mint announced it will no longer do business with Poongsan for the production of Dutch Euro coins. While not an EU member state, the Mint of Norway also confirmed to PAX that it has ended its business ties with the South Korean company and will no longer source coin blanks from Poongsan as long as the company is involved in the production of cluster munitions.
The large majority of the countries associated in the MDWG have joined the CCM. In addition to the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and Spain have national legislation prohibiting investments in cluster munitions. Also, euro countries France, the Czech Republic and Slovenia have made interpretive statements that investments in cluster munitions are or can be seen as prohibited under the convention.
Defend International urges everyone, especially mints from countries that have banned cluster bombs to cease buying coin blanks from Poongsan. It is imperative that the mints uphold their countries’ commitment for a world free of cluster munitions and to take steps to discontinue their business ties to Poongsan. Additionally, we urge the MDWG to exclude Poongsan from the list of vetted suppliers of coin blanks because of its involvement with cluster munitions, a weapon that has killed/maimed so many civilians and continue doing so in Syria and Yemen today, which is prohibited under International Humanitarian Law.”
DI members are encouraged by the good news that the Royal Dutch Mint has committed itself to no longer purchase coin blanks from Poongsan for the production of Dutch euro coins and that the Mint of Norway has confirmed that it will no longer source coin blanks from Poongsan as long as the company is involved in the production of cluster munitions. It is our hope that all countries that have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions will follow their example.