November 30, 2022 ・ Still I Rise

No more child miners in DRC!

Between 50 to 70 percent of the world's cobalt supply comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

This metal is essential for the creation of lithium-ion batteries found in mobile phones, computers, cars and electric bicycles. It has been labeled a “critical raw material” by the European Union, as it is crucial for our security and development, as well as to achieve a true green transition. Its demand is expected to grow 5-fold by 2030 and 15-fold by 2050.

An energy transition towards greener sources can not and must not be planned by sacrificing the most basic human rights of tens of thousands of children, who are exploited in the Country’s mines earning an average of 1-2 US dollars a day. They risk their health and lives every day.

Hi-Tech multinational corporations continue to turn a blind eye to their supply chain, and the law allows them to do so. At the moment, in order to sell electronic products and devices with cobalt-containing batteries in Europe, it is sufficient to present a list of suppliers, without any independent certification of the entire supply chain.

Our petition: "No more child miners!"

As Still I Rise, we launched a petition urging the Italian Government and EU member States to implement comprehensive cobalt supply chain controls and embrace an eco-friendly transition that upholds human rights.

In 2022, the European Commission proposed a corporate due diligence European Directive to the EU Parliament and the Council of the EU. In June 2023, the EU Parliament approved a more progressive proposal, although it still has some criticalities, including the following main requests from Still I Rise:

  • Mandatory corporate due diligence integration on human rights and environmental standards throughout a company’s entire value chain.
  • The requirement for Member States to establish an independent external authority overseeing corporate activities.

While this marks significant progress, the directive is currently under negotiation among the EU Parliament, the Commission, and the Council. The results obtained so far may be reconsidered.

Thus, it is vital to continue sharing and signing this petition, underlining the importance of full commitment by the Italian government to ensure lasting benefits for all. 

Join us in making a difference; sign and share the petition! 
#StopTheAbuses #DueDiligenceNow

Do you want to learn more?


Read our position paper on the European Union due diligence framework for a fair green transition

Our contribution to the European Commision on the Critical Raw Materials Act

Our second opinion to the European Commission on the Critical Raw Material Act

Still I Rise activities in DRC

We are sadly very familiar with the plight of child exploitation in the cobalt mines of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In early 2022 we opened an emergency and rehabilitation center in Kolwezi, the cobalt capital of the world. The school is named Pamoja (“together" in Swahili) and it provides high quality education to 60 students: all of them are former child miners. Our aim is to restore their inalienable rights to childhood and education.

In order to ensure their attendance at school and prevent them from returning to work in the mines, we deploy a holistic approach that includes outreach activities and distributions of basic necessities to families, as well as guaranteeing meals for our students every day.

Pamoja is the place where they can finally come to be simply children and learn.

If you want to support our advocacy activities and our school in DRC, please consider making a donation!