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International Human Rights Defenders accused Apple, Google, Microsoft, Dell and Tesla of exploiting child labor in cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, CNN reported

Human rights defenders filed a federal lawsuit against the actions of these companies in a court in Washington County, where the organization’s headquarters are located.

The complaint claims that the firms "are knowingly benefiting from and aiding and abetting the cruel and brutal use of young children" to mine cobalt in extremely dangerous conditions.

The lawsuit also noted that the defendants have known for a "significant period of time" that Congo's mining sector "is dependent upon children," the complaint said, adding that cobalt mined in the region is listed as a good produced by child labor or forced labor by the US Department of Labor.

The lawsuit, the text of which was quoted by a number of media outlets as The Washington Post and The Guardian, also notes that the horrors of the plight of these children were widely covered by the press.

Cobalt is the main component of lithium-ion batteries in almost all rechargeable electronic gadgets. Two-thirds of the cobalt on the planet is mined in Congo.

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