UBS accused of investing in Chinese firm behind surveillance of Uighurs

Hikvision was recently blacklisted by the US. Keystone / Roman Pilipey
This content was published on December 15, 2019 - 18:44

Switzerland’s largest bank is believed to hold shares in the Hikvision group whose products are used to monitor the Uighurs in detention camps and public spaces.

The Chinese state owned firm was blacklisted by the US Department of Commerce in October for its role in the surveillance of ethnic minorities.

According to the SonntagsBlick, UBS was one of Hikvision's top shareholders for years. In 2016, the bank was listed as the sixth largest shareholder and as of March 2019 it was still the ninth largest. This was despite the fact that it was already public knowledge at the time that Hikvision was significantly involved in the surveillance apparatus against the Uighurs. The bank does not want to comment on the extent of its current investment in Hikvision. In principle, UBS does not comment on individual client relationships.

In a letter to UBS, accessed by SonntagsBlick, the Society for Threatened Peoples and the World Congress of Uighurs criticise the investment. They call on UBS to break off its business relationship with Hikvision which they term a violation of the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human RightsExternal link and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational EnterprisesExternal link, to which UBS is committed.

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