Will Samsung, Apple, Sony, Google et al, help Dorsen and Richard?
This letter asks smartphone companies to care enough to organise at-the-point-of-sale fundraising to support child cobalt miners, Dorsen and Richard, and children like them. These boys labour 12 hours a day to make your smartphones work. What will they say?
To: CEOs of Samsung, LG Electronics, Doro, Archos, Apple, Acer Inc., Blackberry, Google Pixel, Microsoft, Lenovo, Nokia, Sony
Dear Corporate CEOs and Mr. Lee,
I am writing to you about a boy called Dorsen. Dorsen is small for his age. He’s eight, and works twelve hours a day as a labourer in a Congolese cobalt mine. He is one of many thousands of children* mining cobalt, needed in the manufacture of rechargeable batteries. You already
know about such children. Such human rights abuse hasbeen well documented over years.
The point of this letter is to ask you, personally, to acknowledge the need to devise a plan to ensure fair and ethical trade with the people mining cobalt in DRCongo. I ask four simple questions with yes or no answers. Your positive response will change lives. Due diligence may be difficult to practice, but that is no excuse for not conducting trade on an ethical, humane basis. It is also wrong to involve your customers in this chain of human rights abuse.
Our expensive smartphones contain cobalt which may have been mined by this little boy. His name is Dorsen. This must stop.
This is the face of a child who works in the prestigious smartphone industry. Meet Dorsen who mines colbalt. He's eight years old. His mum is dead. He works all day in conditions amounting to slave labour to try to earn enough money for scraps of food. Cobalt, mostly mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa, is rife
Here's a question for you. Are you OK with children working 12 hours a day in life threatening conditions for your smartphone, laptop or camera? There is a solution...
These children and artisanal miners need change and support. Companies selling products containing cobalt which may have been mined like this, can add value to their goods by giving us, consumers, the choice to pay more at the point of sale in the form of a donation, or by purchasing something extra (a lapel pin, a badge, a case marked #Dorsen #conflictminerals #DRCongo; there are endless possibilities) or by purchasing goods branded for the purpose of meeting corporate profit margins and raising funds for Congolese welfare. Please sign our petition. If you're not convinced, read more.
Video reports: children mining cobalt in the DR Congo for your smartphone, laptop and electric car. This issue isn't new but corporates continue to abuse human rights.
Here are a collection of films found on YouTube of human rights abuses in Congolese mines. This issue isn't new. Powerful voices have contributed to this research and discussion: Amnesty International, Sky News, UNICEF; yet corporates continue to exploit vulnerable adults and children and we, as consumers, are forced to be complicit with these human rights abuses. We must force change.
Sister Catherine Mutindi, working with Congolese child miners makes contact with us
14 March 2017: Encouraging email received from Sister Catherine Mutindi, located in Kolwezi.
Contacting UNICEF in Democratic Republic Congo re fundraising
Made contact with UNICEF in DRCongo, but sent in a circle back to the UK.
Petition on Care2.org calling for halt to child cobalt miners with almost 60k signatures
13 March 2017. There is a movement to stop human rights abuses in artisanal cobalt mines. This petition has over 60k signatures with a goal of 65k. More > Hi Linda. Could you explain to me what goals you have for the children and the creusseurs of cobalt mines? Obviously, to stop child labour, but do you have demands for these corporates to follow up and support the children's welfare, and to support the creusseurs with investment, safe practice and fair trade? It's not enough to leave these people, who rely on the tiny bits of money they make, high and dry if the unofficial mines are closed down. These people need investment in their welfare and I believe the corporates should follow through with this. I explain my thoughts on www.childrenplay.org Many thanks. Flinty Maguire
Great news! Sky News reporter, Alex Crawford who filmed: Meet Dorsen who mines cobalt to make your smartphone work, has been in touch.
Added: 11 March 2017 Sky reporter, Alex Crawford who filmed Meet Dorsen, who mines cobalt to make your smartphone work, aired on Sky News, Money 27 February, has responded to my Facebook message:
1 March 10:11 Hi Alex. Re your report on the children in DR Congo mining cobalt, you interviewed Dorsen and Richard. Please can you let me know where these children are? I've got £500 pledged overnight - and I can take this forward and develop into a long term project.
Making contact with Sister Catherine Mutindi of Les Soeurs du Bon Pasteur in Kolwezi Town, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Added: 10 March 2017. The Amnesty International report: This is what we die for, published January 2016, mentions a charity called Les Soeurs du Bon Pasteur, a Catholic organisation also known as the Congregation of our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd. Two Sisters from Kenya, Sr. Catherine and Sr. Jane together with Sr. Margaret Lee from the Singapore were sent from Kenya to Kolwezi in 2012 to establish a community working to alleviate the suffering of the poor and marginalized in the DRCongo. [Image from gsscongokenya.org website]
Our objective: to put a stop to Congolese child miners. It's time for the corporates to take responsibility: children should not be slaving for our luxury gadgets; artisanal miners should be assisted to safe practice and fair trade.
This is a new website, inspired by Alex Crawford's Sky News report (27 February 2017) on the children mining cobalt used in smartphones and laptops. It's put together in a hurry due to the desperate plight of these child miners. The site will be developed, and it has a specific objective: to put a stop to child labour in cobalt mines and to support children who would otherwise find themselves working in cobalt mines. Please follow the Twitter feed, and like the Facebook page. Let's work together to help these children as fast as we can. It's not enough to say how sad it is to see such misery. We must act.
Amnesty International asks: Did children mine the materials in your phone?
Amnesty International content: Walk into any high-end phone shop and you’ll find all the hallmarks of the luxury tech market: slick surfaces, cool lines, spotless screens. It’s a far cry from the toxic dust that children inhale as they mine the cobalt that powers the batteries we rely on for our phones and other portable electronic devices. These child miners, some as young as seven, live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), central Africa.
Apple cracks down further on cobalt supplier in Congo as child labour persists. Our question: is this just a gesture?
A boy carries a bag used to transport cobalt-laden dirt and rock at a mineral market outside Kolwezi, Congo, on June 7. A Washington Post investigation found that child labor and unsafe working conditions are part of the cobalt mining process. (Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post)
Apple said it has temporarily stopped buying cobalt mined by hand in Congo while it continues to deal with problems with child labor and harsh work conditions.
Washington Post: Apple cracks down
Comment: Distressing content in Sky News report. Very new website online to create more awareness: www.childrenplay.org It's not enough that corporates stop buying cobalt from artisanal mines. That leaves locals without an income and prey to rogue traders. Corporates should fund a welfare scheme: develop mines with safe practices and support children in education. Adding £ or $ to every tech unit sold to syphon to these welfare programs. Consumers would pay it. Corporates would become heroes. Congo, country in chaos, would benefit. DRCongo is rich in mineral resources. We should treat the country with fair trade principle and respect. Situation at the moment is denial, rape and pillage, with sound bites from spokespeople making it sound like they care. And still the children labour... This has got to stop. Consumers have the power. @MeetDorsen We should organise a Twitter shout.
Who is behind this website, and why has it come online?
Click on image to magnify
My name is Pamela Reynolds aka Flinty Maguire. I am distressed that the technology I love has such an ugly backstory.
I watched Aex Crawford's Sky News report on child cobalt miners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The report was effective: the image of a small boy, a child miner, looking nervously into the camera lens; exhausted, ill and depressed, was profoundly distressing to witness.
The strange (deluded?) cultural concepts of Huayou, the Chinese company that turns mined cobalt into a product
"Huayou's people take pride in inheriting and carrying forward the great spirit of Chinese nation - "As heaven's movement is ever vigorous, so must a gentleman strive ceaselessly to become even stronger".
Contacting UNICEF in Democratic Republic Congo re fundraising
Emailed on 3 March to seek assistance. Need someone qualified to receive funds to assist children mining cobalt.
UPDATE: Response received
From: Flinty Maguire [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: 03 March 2017 15:20 To: 'firstname.lastname@example.org' <email@example.com> Subject: Raising funds for children mining cobalt
Following a report on Sky News regarding child labour in cobalt mines in DR Congo, I have begun to raise funds to help the children involved in the report. The filming was done in the Katanga Province. My fund raising will be an ongoing project.
I need assistance: someone qualified to receive funds and administer them to children.
A campaign will shortly be launched which will be sustained, and I can provide you with more information soon. I need a point of contact so that I can take this forward.