Apple, Google, Microsoft, Dell and Tesla are being sued for benefiting from child labour in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The suit is being brought against them by International Rights Advocates. The advocacy group is accusing the five companies of “knowingly benefiting from” the use of young children to mine cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The federal class-action suit was brought against the companies in Washing D.C., in the US. The group claims that the firms “are knowingly benefiting from and aiding and abetting the cruel and brutal use of young children” to mine cobalt in extremely dangerous conditions.
Cobalt is a major component of lithium-ion batteries found in virtually every rechargeable electronic gadget. Two-thirds of the world’s cobalt comes from the Congo.
International Rights Advocates claims that the defendants have known for a “significant period of time” that Congo’s mining sector “is dependent upon children”.
It sighted the horrors of the plight of these children that has been widely reported in the media. The rights group detailed several cases involving children it claims were injured while working on the mines. These includes one boy who slipped and fell while working in a mine and is “now completely paralyzed from his chest down”.
Apple, Dell and Google in response to the lawsuit said they are all “committed to the responsible sourcing of minerals”. But Microsoft and Tesla are yet to comment.