Tech firms named in US lawsuit over DRC cobalt mining child labour ( – December 16, 2019)

The world’s largest technology companies are being sued by the families of children who died or were maimed while mining for cobalt in the world’s largest cobalt producing nation, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The federal class action lawsuit, filed in Washington DC by human rights firm International Rights Advocates, names Apple, Alphabet – the parent company of Google, Dell Technologies, Microsoft and Tesla as defendants.

It is understood other technology firms and automotive companies were also on the human rights firm’s radar and that additional entities could be added to the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs are either guardians of children killed in tunnel or wall collapses, while mining cobalt in the DRC, or children who were maimed in such accidents.

The children and families claim that these technology companies knowingly benefited from and aiding and abetting the “cruel and brutal use of young children” to mine cobalt – a key component of the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used in the devices that these companies manufacture.

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