Civil society groups applaud Norway Oil Fund divestment from Hikvision, urge further action

For Immediate Release
September 24, 2020 9:40am EDT
Uyghur Human Rights Project
Contact: Peter Irwin +1 (646) 906-7722

The Norwegian Uyghur Committee, Uyghur Human Rights Project, World Uyghur Congress, Norwegian Helsinki Committee, and the Rafto Foundation for Human Rights, welcome Government Pension Fund of Norway (Oil Fund) decision to divest from Chinese surveillance company, Hikvision Digital Technology, and urge global investors to review investments in entities responsible for gross rights abuses targeting Uyghurs.

The Oil Fund’s decision is in line with recommendations made in January 2020 by the Fund’s Advisory Council on Ethics, which were based on “an unacceptable risk of the company [Hikvision] participating in serious human rights violations”.

“We consider the result a victory for many oppressed in East Turkistan. At the same time, we hope that more similar companies that are directly or indirectly involved in the Chinese authorities' human rights violations will also be excluded,” said Muetter Iliqud, Head of Communication for the Norwegian Uyghur Committee. 

Hikvision products have been used to monitor and suppress Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other groups, including the mass arbitrary detention of between 1 and 1.8 million in internment camps. Investigative reporting has illustrated Hikvision’s use of surveillance cameras to specifically identify Uyghur faces, as well as the company’s close relationship with the security forces in the Uyghur Region.

"The ball is now in the court of every major global investor. Supporting companies demonstrated to be propping up the Chinese government's atrocities is far beyond the line and they should know better," said UHRP Executive Director Omer Kanat.

“It is unacceptable for people and organisations to profit off the incredible suffering of others. The WUC welcomes the decision of the Norwegian Oil Fund to halt its investment in Hikvision and call on other funds and relevant entities to take similar principled action,” said WUC President Dolkun Isa.

The Oil Fund’s reassessment of its investments follows our appeal in an open letter earlier this year, in which we urged the Fund to divest from Chinese technology companies Hikvision Digital Technology and Zhejiang Dahua Technology because of their involvement in serious and ongoing human rights violations.

We encourage a similar assessment of investments in Dahua, a large provider of video surveillance products and services, which together with Hikvision has won more than $1 billion worth of Chinese government-backed contracts in the Uyghur Region since 2016. 

Moreover, we call on all global investors to follow the Oil Fund’s decision to publicly disclose their relations with Hikvision and Dahua and reassess their investments. The Oil Fund’s divestment from Hikvision sends a signal that wealth funds that claim commitment to responsible investment should not support gross and systematic human rights violations.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Adiljan Abdurihim, Norwegian Uyghur Committee: info@uigurene.no
Ryan Barry, World Uyghur Congress: ryan.barry@uyghurcongress.org
Peter Irwin, Uyghur Human Rights Project: pirwin@uhrp.org