Geneva Council, an independent news organization dedicated to promoting transparency and human rights, strongly denounces the egregious human rights violations associated with cobalt and copper mining operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
In a comprehensive report titled “Powering Change or Business as Usual?” Amnesty International and the DRC-based organization Initiative pour la Bonne Gouvernance et les Droits Humains (Initiative for Good Governance and Human Rights, IBGDH), disturbing revelations have come to light concerning the expansion of industrial-scale mining activities in the DRC. These mining operations, primarily aimed at extracting cobalt and copper for rechargeable batteries, have resulted in widespread forced evictions and human rights violations, including sexual assault.
The report spotlights the distressing plight of communities who have been forcibly removed from their homes and ancestral farmland as a result of the aggressive expansion of multinational mining projects. Agnes Callamard, Secretary-General of IBGDH, expressed deep concern, stating, “The forced evictions taking place as companies seek to expand industrial-scale copper and cobalt mining projects are wrecking lives and must stop now.”
At the core of this issue lies the surging global demand for metals essential for clean energy technologies, such as copper and cobalt, which are indispensable in the production of lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars and mobile phones.
Geneva Council echoes the report’s assertion that the DRC possesses the world’s largest cobalt reserves and the seventh-largest copper reserves, making it a focal point for these mining activities. Alarmingly, demand for cobalt is projected to soar to 222,000 tonnes by 2025, representing a threefold increase from the levels recorded in 2010.
In condemning these severe human rights violations, Geneva Council stands firmly for justice, transparency, and accountability. We call upon the international community, governments, and corporations to take immediate action to address these concerns, prioritize the rights and well-being of the affected communities, and ensure that the pursuit of clean energy technologies does not come at the cost of human rights.