Major firms accused of aiding child labour

发布时间:2020-02-15 06:35:11 官方地址: 点击:301136 字号:

  Five of the worlds largest tech compani

es have been accused of

being complicit in the death of children in the Dem

ocratic Republic of Congo forced to mine cob

alt, a metal used to make telephones and computers. The legal complaint on behalf of 14 families from Congo was filed on Sunday by International Rights Advocates, a US-based human rights non-profit, aga

inst Tesla Inc, Apple Inc, Alphabet Inc, Microsoft Corp and Dell Technologies Inc. The landmark lawsuit says the companies were part of a system of forced labour that the families claimed led to the death and serious injury of their children. It marked the first time the tech industry jointly has faced legal action over the source of its cobalt. Images in the court documents, filed in US District Court in Washington DC, showed children with disfigured or missing limbs. Six of the 14 children in the case were killed in tunnel collapses, and the others suffered life-altering injuries, including paralysis, it said. "These companies - the richest companies in the world,

these fancy gadget-making c

ompanies - have a

llowed children to be maimed and killed to get their cheap coba

lt," Terrence Collingsworth, a lawyer representing the families, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Cobalt is essential in making rechargeable lithium batteries used in millions of products sold by the tech industry. More than half of the worlds cobalt is produced in Congo. Global demand for the metal is expected to increase at 7 per cent to 13 per cent annually over t

he next decade, according to a

2018 study by the European Commission. In response to a request for comment, Dell said in an email that it has "never knowingly sourced operations" using child labour and has launched an investigation into the allegations. Tesla, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Glencore did not immediately respond for comment. The lawsuit sai

d the children, some as young as six y

ears old, were forced by their families extreme poverty to leave school and work in cobalt mining owned by the British mining company Glencore, which has previously been accused of using child labour. Some children were paid as little as $US1.50 ($A2.20) per day, worki

ng six days a week, it said. The legal complaint argued that the companies all have the ability to overhaul their cobalt supply chains to ensure safer conditions. Mor

e than 40 million people have been estimated to be captive in modern slavery, which includes forced labour and forced marriage, according to Walk Free and the International Labour Organisation. Australian Associated Press