A scathing report by Amnesty International, in collaboration with the DRC-based organisation IBGDH or or Initiative pour la Bonne Gouvernance et les Droits Humains (Initiative for Good Governance and Human Rights) reveals alarming human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as a consequence of the expansion of industrial-scale mining operations for cobalt and copper. These metals are critical components of rechargeable batteries used in electric vehicles and mobile devices.
The report, titled “Powering Change or Business as Usual?” sheds light on forced evictions and a litany of human rights violations, including sexual assault, inflicted on local communities. Multinational mining firms’ aggressive expansion has led to the displacement of these communities from their homes and farmlands, according to Aljazeera.
Amnesty International’s Secretary-General, Agnes Callamard, condemned the forced evictions and called for their immediate cessation. She emphasized the need for a just transition in the journey towards global decarbonization, ensuring that the pursuit of clean energy technologies does not further trample upon human rights.
The DRC possesses the world’s largest cobalt reserves and ranks seventh in copper reserves. With demand for cobalt projected to triple by 2025, the extraction industry shows no sign of slowing down. This report serves as a stark reminder of the dark underbelly of the clean energy revolution.