The world’s five most significant technology companies have been charged with alleged deaths in connection with the death of children in Africa in a landmark lawsuit forced to mine cobalt, a metal used to make computers and telephones.
United States based human rights NGO International Rights Advocates filed a legal lawsuit on behalf of fourteen families. They filed against Telsa Inc. Apple, Microsoft and The Alphabet from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is said that the companies are part of a forced labor system that families claim to have seriously injured and killed their children. Images in court documents submitted to District Court in the U.S in Washington, DC, show deformed or missing limbs. The report said that six of the fourteen children in the case were killed in a tunnel collapse, while others suffered life-changing injuries. Cobalt is crucial for the manufacture of lithium batteries which can be recharged, which can be used in millions of products sold in the technology industry. More than half of the globe’s cobalt is produced in the Congo. According to the study from 2018, by the European Commission (EU), global demand for metals is expected to grow at a rate of 7% to 13% per year over the next decade. The lawsuit claims that the kids, some of whom were only six years old, were enforced by their families to drop out of school and work in cobalt mines owned by Glencore which is a British mining company. They have also been previously accused of using child labor. The legal action argues that all companies have the capability to overhaul their cobalt stock chain to ensure harmless conditions
According to Freedom and the International Labor Organization, more than 40 million people are estimated to be captured by modern slavery, including forced labor and forced marriage.