It has recently came to my attention, through a Portuguese news network station and the founder of the Portuguese AMI (International Medical Assistance) founder Dr. Fernando Nobre, that the vast majority of consumer electronics, including mobile phones, needs a rare mineral as one of their components that is mainly extracted in Congolese soil by underage infants and under severe working conditions.
The infants are used because of their small stature, which is essential in the extraction of the mineral in the improvised mines.
Working conditions in these mines are terrible and the death rate among infant workers is high. These children risk their life's for less than a dollar a day of wage in a slave like working regime.
According to Dr. Fernando Nobre, this prosperous business is far more lucrative than the blood diamonds not only for the guerrilla that controls the extraction, but also to the large manufacturers that simply tend to overlook this human rights abuse in order to obtain a mineral called Coltan at a low price.
One of the suggested pressure points that consumers can make over manufacturers in order to reduce or eliminate this crisis, is not to stop buying mobile phones and consumer electronics, but rather promote a global awareness of this situation.
So I suggest that if you wish to participate on this global awareness effort to send a link to this blog to your friends and coworkers, and also email the manufacturer of the electronics devices you have in your household, including the manufacturer of your mobile phone, and inform them of this situation and also ask them for more information on their position on this matter and if they are aware of their suppliers working conditions and human rights policies.
If you wish to see the full video (in Portuguese) click here.