UN Taps China, Which Commits Crimes Against Humanity, For New Group Protecting ‘Human Rights’ In Mining

(Photo via Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Nick Pope Contributor
Font Size:

The United Nations (U.N.) selected China — a country that perpetrates genocide and crimes against humanity — to sit on a new panel intended to advance human rights in mining of critical minerals.

China was one of the 23 countries named Friday that will sit on the U.N.’s new Critical Energy Transition Minerals’ Panel, which will work “to develop a set of global common and voluntary principles to safeguard environmental and social standards” and “embed justice” in the mining of key raw materials needed to build green energy technologies. The State Department, which declared China is committing genocide in 2021, recently published a report on human rights in China describing the genocide as ongoing, and the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China (USCC) found that China exploits child and forced labor in Congolese mines.

“A world powered by renewables is a world hungry for critical minerals,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said of the new coalition. “For developing countries, critical minerals are a critical opportunity — to create jobs, diversify economies, and dramatically boost revenues. But only if they are managed properly. The race to net zero cannot trample over the poor. The renewables revolution is happening — but we must guide it towards justice.” (RELATED: Chinese Surveillance Firm Tied To Beijing’s Uyghur Persecution Effort Joins UN ‘Human Rights’ Initiative)

The panel will focus specifically on the mining of copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt and rare earth elements, according to the U.N. While China dominates in critical mineral mining and refining globally, the country’s inclusion in the coalition may raise some questions given its poor record on human rights.

The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) genocide and crimes against humanity are ongoing, according to the State Department’s 2023 human rights report. Among other “significant human rights issues,” the Chinese government has arrested and detained more than one million predominantly-Muslim minority in internment camps, required an unknown number of Uyghurs to take part in “re-education” programs and to work as de facto slave laborers.

Additionally, third-party analysts — such as the Center for Strategic International Studies and Sheffield Hallam University — have also concluded that global supply chains for some green energy products, like solar panel components, are very likely to have links to Uyghur forced labor.

Concerns about Uyghur slave labor tainting global green energy supply chains prompted the U.S. government to craft and enact the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act in 2021. The law is designed to prevent products links to Uyghur slave labor from entering the U.S., according to its text.

Chinese human rights violations in the critical minerals space are happening beyond China’s borders as well.

Chinese companies control about 80% of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) production of cobalt, which is an essential component of green technologies like electric vehicle batteries, according to the USCC and the Cobalt Institute. The DRC is thought to sit on more cobalt than any other country in the world, and the Department of Labor estimates that at least 25,000 children work in Congolese cobalt mines.

“To this day, child and forced Congolese laborers toil in hazardous conditions to extract cobalt from unsafe mines including artisanal mines in the DRC,” Republican Rep. Chris Smith said during a November 2023 USCC hearing. “Hastily dug artisanal mines are always subject to collapsing—and many have indeed collapsed, crushing, amputating, and killing miners, including children.”

Democratic Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley echoed Smith during that same hearing.

“Facilitated by widespread corruption in the DRC’s mining sector, Chinese companies and the Chinese government directly profit from forced and child labor used to mine these minerals, extending their abusive practices across continents,” Merkley said.

The U.N., the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the State Department did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact