Demand an end to children mining cobalt for smartphones #Dorsen

  • by: Flinty M
  • target: Huayou Cobalt, China. Sony. Apple. Samsung. Microsoft. Volkswagon.

For more information see
Twitter: @MeetDorsen
Use #Dorsen to spread the word.
See the Sky News film: Meet Dorsen who mines cobalt to make your mobile phone work 


Amnesty International's report: "THIS IS WHAT WE DIE FOR" is horrifying. Your smartphone may well contain cobalt mined by "unofficial" workers, including children. Cobalt is used to make lithium-ion batteries, which power smartphones, laptops, cameras, cars.

The conditions of work are extremely harsh and very dangerous to life and limb.

Child labourers and artisanal miners get paid a pittance. Their health is damaged. They die. The cobalt merchants and the corporate companies get rich.

There is a solution. It's easy, it's quick - but you have to participate.

Let's make this personal. Meet Dorsen. He's 8 and he's unwell. He mines cobalt for your smartphone. He works 12 hours a day for as little as 8p or 10cents a day. Sometimes he doesn't earn anything - then he goes hungry.

Here's a question for you. Are you OK with children slaving 12 hours a day in life threatening conditions, for your smartphone, camera, or laptop?

No? Then let's rally for these kids. As consumers, we can stick together and insist something is done.

Here's the quick SOLUTION.

We, the consumer, pay a Care Charge added on every unit manufactured with a rechargeable battery containing cobalt. The Care Charge is then directed to the DRCongo.

What's the Care Chare for?

  1. There's liaison with a charity like UNICEF: children are removed from labour. The funds go towards child welfare: food, schools, health care.
  2. There is investment in artisanal mines promoting ethical and safe practice, equipment and a living wage.

Apple, Sony, Samsung, and the rest of these in-denial corporates, get to be heroes - so why should they refuse to do this?

Please sign this petition. Millions of units with lithium-ion batteries are sold every year. More money is needed than any caring individual could raise. This needs to be sustained and organised. Together we can each pay a modest charge to support this vital industry and free these abused children. More cobalt will be needed. 50% of the world's cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 20% of that is mined by children and artisanal miners. Every time we buy a piece of kit with a rechargeable battery in it, we are complicit in this terrible human rights abuse.

A Sky News report by Alex Crawford, February 2017, revisited the plight of child labourers in Congolese cobalt mines. Conditions in these "unofficial" mines are desperate, for children and adults. The work is dangerous, constitutes a health hazard, and is completely exploitative. Cobalt is a valuable resource needed to make lithium-ion batteries used in smartphones, laptops, cameras, cars, and more. More than 50% of cobalt comes from Congolese mines. 20% of that total is mined by children and artisanal miners. Congolese laws to protect children and workers and ignored and globally, there is no accountability. The Congolese President, Joseph Kabila, is letting his people down. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development have guidelines for Due Diligence, but they are not legally binding and, therefore, useless. Currently, no country legally requires companies to publicly report on their cobalt supply chains. This is very convenient for corporates. Their deflective answers to questions posed by Amnesty Internation in the report: "This is what we die for", January 2016, evidence a culture of denial. Sound bites of concern may be uttered, but the abuse of children and artisanal miners continues in a never ending cycle with no one taking responsibility. Consequently, we, the consumer, are forced to be complicit in human rights abuses. This must stop. We, the consumer, are prepared to pay a Care Charge added to each unit containing a lithium-ion battery. That charge must then be directed to the Congolese child and artisanal miners to a) put a stop to child labour and care for children's welfare and b) support artisanal miners in safe practice with a living wage. 

Any company not wishing to participate will demonstrate a negligent attitude. It's no longer enough for these companies to give deflective answers to human rights organisations. It is time for accountability. This exploitation of children and artisanal miners must stop.

We, the consumer, will not tolerate merchandise being produced from human rights abuses.

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