What is Microsoft not telling us?

A group of Amnesty volunteers will deliver a big box of letters to Microsoft Canada’s headquarters at the end of May.

Help them fill the box with letters to Microsoft! Continue reading for more information. 

Amnesty is concerned about the strong possibility that there is child labour in Microsoft’s supply chain. Amnesty researchers have discovered that cobalt, a metal used in the rechargeable batteries of portable electronics such as laptops, tablets and cell phones, is being mined by children and adults under hazardous condvolunitions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Amnesty researchers traced the cobalt supply chain and determined that the cobalt is very likely used in batteries in products sold by Microsoft, Samsung, Apple and others. We urged these companies, and others, to investigate their cobalt supply chains, publish the names of their smelters, and address any human rights issues, in accordance with international business and human rights guidelines.

Initially, Apple and Samsung neglected to address the serious concerns raised in Amnesty’s cobalt report, but when more than 100,000 people signed an Amnesty petition to Apple and Samsung, the companies finally took concrete steps to address human rights abuses in their cobalt supply chain.

Amnesty International supporters held a demonstration outside of Apple’s store in Montreal on the World Day Against Child Labour, 2016.

Yet Microsoft still fails to provide us with adequate evidence that it is mapping its cobalt supply chain and addressing human rights abuses.

Amnesty International will be meeting with Microsoft on May 31st. A few days before the meeting, a group of Amnesty volunteers will visit Microsoft Canada’s headquarters and hand-deliver a big box of letters and drawings from activists across the country. The delivery will be filmed on Facebook live. Help us show Microsoft that people across Canada are concerned about the company’s failure to tackle child labour allegations and fill the box with letters and drawings.

1. Write a letter to Microsoft

  • Explain who you are and why you care about this issue.
  • Urge Microsoft to publicly disclose on its website the following:
    1. whether cobalt in Microsoft products has been mined by child labourers or adults working in hazardous conditions;
    2. if no, the steps Microsoft has taken to verify this information;
    3. if yes, the steps Microsoft has taken to address human rights abuses in the cobalt supply chain;
    4. the names of cobalt smelters/refiners in Microsoft’s supply chain, including identification of where the cobalt was sourced, as well as their human rights due diligence policies and practices.
  • To have your letter included in the big box of letters that we will hand-deliver to Microsoft at the end of May, email your letter to urgentaction@amnesty.ca and we will print it for you.

2. Create a visual message

Create a drawing, photo, or video about this issue. Send the hard copy to the address above for inclusion in that box that we will hand deliver to Microsoft at the end of May. If you use social media, share your visual message using the hashtag #WhatsBeneaththeSurface and tagging @Microsoft @KevinPeesker (President of Microsoft Canada) and @AmnestyNow.


3. Order a Sticker

Order a “Warning: May Contain Child Labour” sticker and stick it on the back of your laptop or tablet.

4. Watch our interactive video 

Watch our interactive video that will take you on a journey tracing how cobalt mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo ends up in your everyday electronic products. 

5. Order postcards

Order some of our postcards to Microsoft. Encourage your friends and neighbours to sign them, and then send them all to Microsoft. 

6. Sign our online action

Act now by signing our e-petition to Microsoft.

7. Learn more 

Receive our campaign updates by subscribing to our Business and Human Rights e-newsletter, and following us on Facebook and Twitter.