The latest controversy to rock the world of tech implicates the big five: Google, Apple, Microsoft, Dell and Tesla. A Washington, D.C. lawsuit dragged the world’s leading technology firms into the death of child miners in Congo.
According to details of the case, the children worked in mines; digging up cobalt in unconducive conditions. Lawyers of the International Rights Advocacy brought the case forward.
Cobalt is the major material in rechargeable batteries manufacture. These kinds of batteries power most devices and products including: phones, tablets, laptop and even electric cars. Therefore, it will likely involve many more tech companies.
14 plaintiffs who preferred to remain anonymous had approached the organisation. They are described as either the guardians of children who died in the mines or injured ones who survived.
The lead plaintiff, Terry Collingsworth, said:
“We will do everything possible to get justice quickly for the children we represent.”
He also added:
“In my 35 years as a human rights lawyer, I’ve never seen such extreme abuse of innocent children on a large scale. This astounding cruelty and greed [need] to stop.”
Some of the children are allegedly as young as six years old. They are made to work in extremely harsh conditions without hope of education or a better life, as stated by the filed document.
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Also, there is proof that these companies are aware of the source of the cobalt they use in making the popular lithium-ion battery.
Even the pay is as small as $2 to $3 daily. Families who lose their children to collapsed mining walls, sickness and injuries have to replace them with another one. Thus, the loss is an enormous burden on them.
It is ironic to rob some children of their future to create technology for a better world for some other ‘children’.
Google, Dell and Apple Responds To Children Miners Accusation
ABC News reports that a Google spokesperson got in touch with it. The company said that it is invested in eradicating child mining as an active member of the Responsible Minerals Initiative. This initiative is a congregation of nearly 400 companies that support ethical mining.
Also, Dell spoke about this historic lawsuit. Before mentioning that it is also part of those committed to ethical mining, it stated that they are currently investigating the case.
Apple also towed the same line when explaining its stand. It added that it had removed six cobalt refiners that failed to comply with their standard in 2019.
Microsoft and Tesla are yet to respond to the allegations.
More people should be speaking about this, with how popular the devices using these unethically gotten materials are.
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