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DR Congo queries Apple over ‘blood minerals’ from conflict-ridden east

DR Congo queries Apple over 'blood minerals' from conflict-ridden east

International legal representatives acting on behalf of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have penned a letter to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, seeking clarification regarding the origins of minerals utilized in the production of the tech giant’s devices.

Expressing apprehension, the lawyers highlighted potential concerns about Apple’s supply chain potentially being entangled with minerals sourced through unethical mining practices in the DRC.

The group, spearheaded by Robert Amsterdam from Washington DC and William Bourdon from Paris, also reached out to Apple subsidiaries in France, setting a deadline of three weeks for a response.

Their initiative follows a report by the Amsterdam law firm, implicating Rwanda and private entities in the laundering of conflict minerals, including 3T, from the DRC.

The DRC holds a significant position as the primary producer of copper, cobalt (a crucial component in electric batteries), and tantalum on a global scale. These mineral riches are mainly concentrated in the eastern part of the central African nation.

Eastern Congo has been plagued by the presence of over 120 armed groups vying for control over its abundant resources, resulting in frequent massacres and contributing to one of the world’s most severe humanitarian crises. An estimated 7 million people have been displaced, many of whom are inaccessible to aid efforts.

Ramesh Rajasingham, the director of coordination at the United Nations humanitarian office, described the situation in Goma, where numerous displaced individuals have sought refuge, as “heartbreaking” and “unprecedented.”

Amid escalating clashes with security forces, the M23 rebel group, considered the most prominent in the region, has been actively involved. The group gained prominence a decade ago by seizing Goma, the largest city in eastern Congo, situated on the border with Rwanda. The group’s name stems from a peace deal signed on March 23, 2009, which it accuses the Congolese government of failing to uphold.

President Felix Tshisekedi of the DRC has accused Rwanda of destabilizing his country by supporting the M23 rebels. While U.N. experts have established links between the rebels and Rwandan forces, Rwanda has denied these allegations.

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