Congo Accuses Apple of Obtaining Minerals Illegally; Say Macs, iPhones Stained with Blood of Locals

Congo Accuses Apple of Obtaining Minerals Illegally; Say Macs, iPhones Stained with Blood of Locals

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has accused Apple of using minerals obtained via illegal means from the eastern region of the country, where violence, child labor, and other human rights violations are rampant. The DRC’s lawyers say that Apple products like Mac, iPhone, and others, are “tainted by the blood of the Congolese people.”

Apple, however, denies the allegations, citing its Conflict Minerals Report, which states it found no direct link between its suppliers and armed groups in the DRC as of December 31, 2023. Cupertino further mentioned it conducts ongoing checks and removed 14 non-compliant suppliers from its chain, as reported by AFP.

The minerals in question are 3T or 3TG minerals, including tin, tantalum, and tungsten or gold. The trade of these conflict materials is believed to fund militia and terrorist groups in the DRC; multiple reports support this claim, including a two-and-a-half-year-old report from The Globe and Mail that sheds light on how Rwanda traders fund the rebels. In addition, several big techs have been accused of using conflict minerals.

“Year after year, Apple has sold technology made with minerals sourced from a region whose population is being devastated by grave violations of human rights,” says Robert Amsterdam, founding partner of the law firm overseeing the lawyers. “The world’s eyes are wide shut: Rwanda’s production of key 3T minerals is near zero, and yet big tech companies say their minerals are sourced in Rwanda,” he adds.

On top of that, the DRC’s lawyers are accusing Apple of sourcing minerals smuggled into neighboring Rwanda, where they are laundered into the global supply chain. They criticize Apple’s reliance on the Tin Supply Chain Initiative (ITSCI) for certification and claim “[it has] shown to have numerous and serious shortcomings.”

That said, French lawyers, William Bourdon, and Vincent Brengarth have sent a formal notice to two Apple subsidiaries in France and lawyer Robert Amsterdam to Cupertino headquarters this week, and they are demanding answers from Apple within three weeks.


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