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Article

16 Dec 2019

Author:
Annie Kelly, The Guardian

Apple and Google named in US lawsuit over Congolese child cobalt mining deaths

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A landmark legal case has been launched against the world’s largest tech companies by Congolese families who say their children were killed or maimed while mining for cobalt used to power smartphones, laptops and electric cars, the Guardian can reveal.

Apple, Google, Dell, Microsoft and Tesla have been named as defendants in a lawsuit filed in Washington DC by human rights firm International Rights Advocates on behalf of 14 parents and children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The lawsuit accuses the companies of aiding and abetting in the death and serious injury of children who they claim were working in cobalt mines in their supply chain.

The families and injured children are seeking damages for forced labour and further compensation for unjust enrichment, negligent supervision and intentional infliction of emotional distress...

Cobalt is essential to power the rechargeable lithium batteries used in millions of products sold by Apple, Google, Dell, Microsoft and Tesla every year...The extraction of cobalt from DRC has been linked to human rights abuses, corruption, environmental destruction and child labour...The lawsuit argues that Apple, Google, Dell, Microsoft and Tesla all aided and abetted the mining companies that profited from the labour of children who were forced to work in dangerous conditions – conditions that ultimately led to death and serious injury...

A spokesperson for Glencore said: “Glencore supports and respects human rights in a manner consistent with the universal declaration of human rights.“Glencore does not tolerate any form of child, forced, or compulsory labour.” Huayou, Apple, Google, Dell, Microsoft and Tesla have also been approached for comment...

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USA: Apple, Google, Dell, Microsoft & Tesla face lawsuit over forced child labour in DRC cobalt mines

Lawsuit against Apple, Google, Tesla, and others (re child labour, DRC)