Lawsuit Against American (and Chinese?) Firms over Child Labour in DR Congo - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15054463
Annie Kelly wrote:Apple and Google named in US lawsuit over Congolese child cobalt mining deaths

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.

It is the first time that any of the tech companies have faced such a legal challenge.

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 insatiable demand for cobalt, driven by desire for cheap handheld technology, has tripled in the past five years and is expected to double again by the end of 2020. More than 60% of cobalt originates in DRC, one of the poorest and most unstable countries in the world.

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.

The families argue in the claim that their children were working illegally at mines owned by UK mining company Glencore. The court papers allege that cobalt from the Glencore-owned mines is sold to Umicore, a Brussels-based metal and mining trader, which then sells battery-grade cobalt to Apple, Google, Tesla, Microsoft and Dell.

Other plaintiffs in the court documents say they worked at mines owned by Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, a major Chinese cobalt firm, which the lawsuit claims supplies Apple, Dell, and Microsoft and is likely to supply the other defendants.

In the court documents, the Congolese families describe how their children were driven by extreme poverty to seek work in large mining sites, where they claim they were paid as little as $2 (£1.50) a day for backbreaking and dangerous work digging for cobalt rocks with primitive tools in dark, underground tunnels.

The families claim that some of the children were killed in tunnel collapses while others were paralysed or suffered life-changing injuries from accidents.

One plaintiff – named Jane Doe 1 – says in the court papers that her nephew was forced to seek work in the cobalt mines when he was a small child after the family could not continue to pay his $6 monthly school fee. The lawsuit claims that in April last year he was working in a mine operated by Kamoto Copper Company, which is owned and controlled by Glencore. He was working underground in a tunnel, digging for cobalt rocks, when the tunnel collapsed and he was buried alive. His family say they have never recovered his body.

Another child, referred to as John Doe 1, says that he started working in the mines when he was nine. The lawsuit claims that earlier this year, he was working as a human mule for Kamoto Copper Company, carrying bags of cobalt rocks for $0.75 a day, when he fell into a tunnel. After he was dragged out of the tunnel by fellow workers, he says he was left alone on the ground at the mining site until his parents heard about the accident and arrived to help him. He is now paralysed from the chest down and will never walk again.

Other families included in the claim say that their children were killed in tunnel collapses or suffered serious injuries such as smashed limbs and broken spines while crawling through tunnels or carrying heavy loads. The families say that none were paid any compensation for the deaths and injuries.

One of the central allegations in the lawsuit is that Apple, Google, Dell, Microsoft and Tesla were aware and had “specific knowledge” that the cobalt they use in their products is linked to child labour performed in hazardous conditions, and were complicit in the forced labour of the children.

The families argue in the court papers that all companies named as defendants entered into commercial “ventures” with the mining companies operating in DRC, and all gained significant financial advantages from the widespread illegal mining of cobalt by children, which continues to enter global supply chains.

The court papers claim that Apple, Dell, Microsoft, Google and Tesla all have the authority and resources to supervise and regulate their cobalt supply chains and that their inability to do so contributed to the deaths and injuries suffered by their clients.

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.

The Guardian


No doubt, the devices we are using are very bloody.

But what most intrigues me is the mentioning of a Chinese Company alleged as the primary operator of the mines.

I tried to find a similar report in China Daily. No avail.

A Chinese report from Sina did not mention the Chinese company involved.


Question: Is this an attempt of MSM to smear China?
#15054542
Patrickov wrote:No doubt, the devices we are using are very bloody.

But what most intrigues me is the mentioning of a Chinese Company alleged as the primary operator of the mines.

I tried to find a similar report in China Daily. No avail.

A Chinese report from Sina did not mention the Chinese company involved.


Question: Is this an attempt of MSM to smear China?


Its a PR stunt of some sorts. THose companies are not mining Cobolt, they are buying it. The reason why they are mentioned is because those companies have far more money compared to the mining companies who probably covered their asses in one way or the other.
#15054543
JohnRawls wrote:Its a PR stunt of some sorts. THose companies are not mining Cobolt, they are buying it. The reason why they are mentioned is because those companies have far more money compared to the mining companies who probably covered their asses in one way or the other.


If the Chinese mining company is indeed involved, then the most obvious ass-coverer would be the Chinese Communist Party itself.
#15054552
Patrickov wrote:May I ask My Honourable Friend: Which country's court (or international tribunal) should this case be in?


Well, Glencore is based in the UK and Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt is in China.

So, this should be in the courts of the UK and China...
#15055172
Western countries bomb resource-possessing nations to death, appoint some Western whore as "leader," and then are able to stripmine the countries resources with no respect to environmental destruction, social destruction, child labor, or health concerns. This is why we bomb- because our corporations want ALL THE PROFIT from the resources in these countries, and they also have their hand in mass media - convincing us that they are not to blame for these unpleasant pictures of 8-year-olds having no childhood because ... they're the remote slaves of Western consumption.

As a remedy, I would suggest that the children of shareholders of the companies involved in these practices be kidnapped and forced to work next to African children the same age, under the same conditions. Perhaps then more photos would be available to wake people up to the inhumane and highly sick use of young children in dangerous industrial mining operations.
#15055210
QatzelOk wrote:As a remedy, I would suggest that the children of shareholders of the companies involved in these practices be kidnapped and forced to work next to African children the same age, under the same conditions. Perhaps then more photos would be available to wake people up to the inhumane and highly sick use of young children in dangerous industrial mining operations.


Seriously, this is worse than whatever this Honourable Member is accusing. Those abducted would die far more easily than the kids currently suffering.

However, I do agree that puppet governments do not work. Rule directly and be held accountable if they do want to reap all the profits.

And in any case, this lawsuit should been seen as an early attempt to hold these coporations accountable.
#15055323
About forcing the children of shareholders to work beside the children who toil in their nest eggs abroad, Patrickov wrote:Those abducted would die far more easily than the kids currently suffering.

That isn't true at all. These white child laborers would just die more publically, in that there is a chance we would see their images in our commercial media.

Black kids die silently (to us media viewers in rich countries) every hour of every day. And our countrie's business elites get richer and richer, the more these children (and their adult siblings) suffer.

Now THERE'S a juicy lawsuit (that this thread is partially an effort to deflect from).

Look how cruel America's elite is to the children who live in their own country (if they even have a country that they're loyal to).

The Richest Country’s Empty Plates. 50 Million Hungry Americans
#15055337
Patrickov wrote:However, I do agree that puppet governments do not work.

Actually, they work very well indeed. Colonialism is alive and well; it's just that we have subcontracted the governance of our colonies to the local elites, instead of going to all the trouble and expense of directly ruling them ourselves. This means more profits and fewer troublesome uprisings.

Rule directly and be held accountable if they do want to reap all the profits.

Why? The current business model makes a lot more sense, and is more profitable. Why would they change that?

And in any case, this lawsuit should been seen as an early attempt to hold these coporations accountable.

Never gonna happen. They have teams of well paid lawyers to see to that. And if that fails, then bribery should work. And if bribery fails, then it will be time to advise their puppet government to send in the goons....
#15055422
Potemkin wrote:The current business model makes a lot more sense, and is more profitable. Why would they change that?

I agree completely. Which is why I have suggested an exchange program.

A decade ago, I had the golden opportunity to leave my daily routine and spend 6 months studying and living among the elite of France - tomorrow's CEOs and mayors of that nation. What a great way to understand the world better - by assuming the role of a very different class than your own for a few months.

A lot of 8 to 10 year old Americans (and Dutch, and Israelis, and Canadians, and British) would see their worldview expand tremendously during this experience, this pre-teen skip-a-year.

"Come on over to the other side, and live like a sanctioned, bombed, and usuried African child for a few months, living in the same shelters, eating the same food, and doing the same kinds of work. Many kids will jump at the chance just to get out of a year of school! Hey, if you want to stay on with the gang at the mine, we can make sure that you never return to school ever again!"
#15055471
QatzelOk wrote:That isn't true at all. These white child laborers would just die more publically, in that there is a chance we would see their images in our commercial media.

Black kids die silently (to us media viewers in rich countries) every hour of every day. And our countrie's business elites get richer and richer, the more these children (and their adult siblings) suffer.


I think we all agree that we are spoiled brats compared with these poor souls. That's why I think deporting Western kids there make them die far more easily, as they do not have the skills as these poor souls acquired (if they survive thst is).

Instead, wherever applicable, let everyone enjoy Western living standards and be treated like how White people are treated in United States now. This is why I oppose puppet governments.

As a matter of fact I am (in principle) against secondment (sub-contracting) as well -- I almost became a victim myself.


QatzelOk wrote:(that this thread is partially an effort to deflect from).


This sounds like an attempt of smearing on my intentions. I merely stumbled on what I shared, and I do not think I have the responsibility to pay attention to all those information sites as this person does. If this person thinks I am ignorant just because I do not actively seek all information he wants me to, I must say that he is being a bit too harsh on me, and I feel deeply offended.
#15055557
Patrickov wrote:I think we all agree that we are spoiled brats compared with these poor souls. That's why I think deporting Western kids there make them die far more easily, as they do not have the skills as these poor souls acquired.

You would be surprised how adaptable children are to child labor. They don't even know the difference, so they walk into it without the negative perception that adults who know history have. Also, there is nothing in African children that makes them better able to walk in untreated mining trailings or work unsupervised with dangerous equipment. The North American kids will adjust as well as anyone.

MORE ON THE LITTLE WHITE MINE-WORKERS PROGRAM

Image

And as I mentioned earlier, recalling my own fortunate and life-changing experience spending time with people from a very different class than my own, the experience these little white mine-workers have will undoubtedly be life-changing and eye-opening.

It will be impossible for these white child miners to grow up to be the same kinds of CEOs or government bureaucrats or military contractors... that their exchange-denied parents grew up to be.
Last edited by QatzelOk on 22 Dec 2019 22:45, edited 1 time in total.
#15055586
QatzelOk wrote:You would be surprised how adaptable children are to child labor. They don't even know the difference, so they walk into it without the negative perception that adults who know history have. Also, there is nothing in African children that makes them better able to walk in untreated mining trailings or work unsupervised with dangerous equipment. The North American kids will adjust as well as anyone.


Well, it seems I am too skeptical about Developed Countries kids' adaptability.

Still, I am thinking whether there are better ways to achieve this than coercion (IIRC this Honourable Gentleman suggested kidnapping, as potrayed in the Saw movies I presume). Even Rudolf Hoess (the Auschwitz commander) thought whipping people into gas chambers was a bad idea.
#15055683
Patrickov wrote:...this Honourable Gentleman suggested kidnapping, as potrayed in the Saw movies I presume).

Not at all.

The "kidnapping" would be done by self-programmed drone so that no human will be responsible for any crime.
That's the beauty of drones.
#15055721
QatzelOk wrote:Not at all.

The "kidnapping" would be done by self-programmed drone so that no human will be responsible for any crime.
That's the beauty of drones.
I assume someone still has to kick the project off. That person(s) might face a lawsuit in The Hague...
#15055933
Patrickov wrote:I assume someone still has to kick the project off. That person(s) might face a lawsuit in The Hague...

The programmer can be drafted from a non-signatory to the War Crimes tribunal, and he/she could be made to sign a "I did this on my own volition - I'm a lone wolf" kind of release just before they're sent off.

This is the real world way that mafias control the world, so it would be nice if mafias could be controlled/mitigated by the same techniques that they have ubiquitized through force all over the planet.
#15055964
Qatz's idea is great. Remember when the US desegregated its schools by bussing whites to black schools? All of a sudden those schools had the funding to provide libraries and sports pitches. Imagine how much the quality of life would improve in 3rd world mines if they were being worked by kids from silicon valley and Shenzen.

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