Oslo [Norway], Mar 28 (ANI): A group of NGOs has urged Norway to divest from Chinese technology companies for their involvement in human rights violations in China's Uyghur Region.
A 'coalition of six Human Rights organisations' in an open letter to the Government Pension Fund of Norway has called for divestment from Hikvision Digital Technology and Zhejiang Dahua Technology.
"Chinese technology companies Hikvision Digital Technology and Zhejiang Dahua Technology, both (of which) are directly implicated in gross and continued human rights violations in the Uyghur region of China. The Fund must take immediate steps to divest from both companies," reads the letter, carried by Norway News.
The Norwegian Uyghur Committee, Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Norwegian PEN, Rafto Foundation for Human Rights, Uyghur Human Rights Project and the World Uyghur Congress have jointly published the letter.
The letter highlights that Hikvision, the world's largest maker of "surveillance cameras", and Dahua, a large provider of video surveillance products and services, have both won more than $1 billion worth of Chinese government-backed contracts in the Uyghur region since 2016.
China has faced international condemnation for rounding up an estimated one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic Turkic minorities in internment camps in Xinjiang, where rights groups say inmates endure political indoctrination and forced assimilation into the majority Han society.
Beijing, however, says the facilities are "vocational training centres" necessary to combat terrorism through job training and teaching Mandarin.
The letter published by the human rights organisations says the products and services of the two companies have been utilised by the communist regime in China to "monitor and suppress Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other religious and ethnic groups, including the mass arbitrary detention of at least 1 million in internment camps.""The issue has been repeatedly raised by human rights groups, the European Union, the UN and by the Norwegian Government itself, on a number of occasions," the letter read.
They underlined that both companies were added to a US trade blacklist in October 2019 which includes 20 Chinese public security bureaus and six other companies, all "implicated in human rights violations against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims including mass detention and surveillance.""The Oil Fund makes clear its focus on responsible investment. It recognizes a set of international standards which includes integrating human rights into company policies and strategy, reporting on salient human rights issues, and engaging transparently on human rights through grievance mechanisms. The Oil Fund also has expressed its support for, and compliance with, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights," the letter said.
The letter stated that while immediate divestment will not solve the human rights crisis, it would send a clear signal to these investors that the world's largest sovereign wealth fund is not interested in supporting those that participate in, or enable, gross and systematic human rights violations.
"It would likewise ensure that the Oil Fund does not continue to profit from those violations going forward. While we acknowledge that the Fund's Ethical Council has indicated greater attention to investigating whether technology companies' tools are being used for "improper surveillance", the time is now to seriously reassess its investments in Hikvision and Dahua and to take appropriate action to ensure it complies with its own ethical standards," it said. (ANI)