On October 29 the Investor Alliance for Human Rights hosted a webinar to help institutional investors understand how they can potentially be connected to egregious human rights abuses through their investments in companies with operations, investments, partnerships, and other business relationships in the Uyghur Region. View the slide deck here.
Since 2017, the Chinese government has placed an estimated 1.8 million predominantly predominantly Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples, including Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and Hui, in detention camps, prisons, and factories across the Uyghur Region in China. This detention underpins systems of repression, in which business enterprises are involved, including wide-spread forced labor of people in and from the Uyghur Region who have been made to work in business enterprises across China; and mass surveillance of people in and from the Uyghur Region, through the use of technology.
The goal of the webinar was for investors to:
- Increase their understanding of the scale and nature of the repression in the Uyghur Region and the complicity of companies in this abuse;
- Understand the salient risks to people associated with the business activities of their portfolio companies in or connected with the Uyghur Region;
- Provide guidance to investors on how to engage with its portfolio companies to identify, prevent and mitigate those risks, and where that is not possible, to consider divestment; and
- Collaborate with other investors, civil society stakeholders, international organizations, and policymakers – to stop, prevent, and mitigate risks associated with investments.
Our expert speakers offered critical perspectives for investors to navigate this human rights crisis. We were very fortunate to have a great panel of speakers for our webinar:
- Rahima Mahmut, UK Project Director & Zumretay Arkin, Program Director & Advocacy, World Uyghur Congress
- Megha Rajagopalan, International Correspondent, BuzzFeed News
- Mariefaye Bechrakis, Program Manager and Research Associate, CSIS
- Shoko Sekiguchi, Sr. Responsible Investment Research Associate, Domini Impact Investment