Top Five of the world’s largest tech companies have been accused of being complicit within the death of children in the Democratic Republic of Congo pressured to mine cobalt, a metal used to make telephones and computers, in a landmark lawsuit.
The authorized complaint on behalf of 14 families from Congo was filed on Sunday by International Rights Advocates, a U.S.-based human rights non-profit, in opposition to Tesla Inc, Apple Inc, Alphabet Inc, Microsoft Corp, and Dell Technologies Inc.
The companies had been a part of a system of pressured labor that the families claimed led to the severe injury and death of their kids, it stated. It marked the first time the tech trade jointly has confronted legal motion over the source of its cobalt.
Images within the court documents, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C., confirmed kids with disfigured or missing limbs. Cobalt is important in making rechargeable lithium batteries utilized in millions of products sold by the tech trade, and more than half of the world’s cobalt is produced in Congo.
Global demand for the metal is predicted to increase at 7% to 13% annually over the next decade, in accordance with a 2018 research by the European Commission. Tesla, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Glencore didn’t immediately respond for comment.
The lawsuit stated the children, some as younger as six years old, had been forced by their families’ excessive poverty to depart school and work in cobalt mining owned by the British mining company Glencore.
More than 40 million individuals have been estimated to be captive in modern slavery, which includes pressured labor and forced marriage, in accordance with Walk Free and the International Labour Organization