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Australia Institute urges Norges Bank to divest from offshore centres over alleged arbitrary detention & human rights abuse of asylum seekers & refugees

(source: Wikipedia)

Numerous United Nations authorities and human rights experts have reported the abuse of asylum seekers and refugees who are detained at Australian offshore immigration camps located on Nauru and Manus Island. Australia Institute examined the investments and operations of these offshore detention centres, and urges Norges Bank Investment Management to divest its shares in Ferrovial, which acquired the camp operator, Broadspectrum.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Broadspectrum, Ferrovial & Norges Bank Investment Management to respond. Their responses are attached below.

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Article
5 December 2016

Norges Bank refers ownership of Ferrovial to ethics panel for acquiring controversial dentention centre operator Broadspectrum

Author: Daniel Brooksbank, Responsible Investor (UK)

“Norges Bank refers its ownership of Spanish infra firm Ferrovial to ethics panel,” 28 Nov 2016

Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) has referred its…holding of Ferrovial to its ethics panel after the…firm acquired controversial Australian detention camp operator Broadspectrum…in June this year…“We are aware of the issue, and we were not invested in Broadspectrum in the end of 2015,” a Norges Bank spokesman told Responsible Investor…The spokesman added: “According to the guidelines for observation and exclusion, we have informed the Council on Ethics about our ownership in Ferrovial…“We expect companies to respect human rights, and address human rights issues in their business practices.” Norges has an eight-page set of expectations towards companies and human rights in which it says it bases its practices on internationally recognised standards…Since the acquisition…Ferrovial has indicated that Broadspectrum’s controversial operations in Nauru and Manus Island are not a strategic activity and that they would not “not form part of its services offering in the future”…

[Also refers to HESTA.]

Read the full post here

Report
5 December 2016

Report: Ill-treatment of asylum seekers in offshore immigration camps makes Norges Bank’s investment in Ferrovial & Broadspectrum risky

Author: Brynn O’Brien, Australia Institute

“Companies and the Australian immigration detention system: Profiting from human rights abuse,” November 2016

There is overwhelming evidence of ongoing, grave human rights abuses occurring in Australia’s system of offshore immigration camps…People seeking asylum, as well as those found to be refugees, are detained arbitrarily and indefinitely and exposed to cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions…Australia outsources the operations…to companies. It is not possible for these companies to meet the most basic human rights standards…and investors in these companies are associated with…risks of human rights abuses. This paper surveys recent developments within the contract network that supports the operation of the offshore detention camps, and the consequences of those developments for the corporations directly involved as well as their financial stakeholders…Ferrovial took responsibility for the system’s operation contracts earlier this year, when it acquired…Broadspectrum. Importantly, Ferrovial knew about the human rights abuses…One of Ferrovial’s biggest investors is the Norwegian Pension Fund…Although the Fund divested from Broadspectrum in 2015, Ferrovial later acquired Broadspectrum. As such, the Fund is once again exposed to the risks associated with…these detention camps…

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Company response
5 December 2016

Response by Broadspectrum

Author: Broadspectrum

Broadspectrum indicated that Ferrovial responded to the report on behalf of their group.

Read the full post here

Company response
5 December 2016

Response by Ferrovial

Author: Ferrovial

Download the full document here

Company response
5 December 2016

Response by Norges Bank Investment Management

Author: Norges Bank Investment Management

Download the full document here