The oil fund’s interests in disputed refugee camps criticized

Asylum seekersAsylum seekers look at the media from behind a fence at the Manus Island detention centre, Papua New Guinea.AAP/Eoin Blackwell/via REUTERS

The Norwegian oil fund holds a significant portion of the shares in the company which makes a large amount of money from running Australia’s controversial refugee camps in Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Amnesty reacts to this and thinks the investment  conflicts with the  ethical guidelines of the fund.

Australia has detained several thousand asylum seekers on remote islands in the Pacific, a practice that has been sharply criticized, the newspaper VG writes.

In a report published by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, they have documented horrific conditions among residents in the camps. The Norwegian oil fund owns 1.7 percent of Spanish Ferrovial which operates camps. With shares for 2.5 billion, the oil fund one of the largest owners of the company.

– We believe that what goes on in the camps are very serious human rights violations. So investment in Ferrovial is contrary to the oil fund’s own ethical guidelines, says political advisor Beate Ekeløve-Slydal Amnesty Norway VG.

Last year the oil fund   started selling their shares in the Australian company Broad Spectrum, which ran the camps. When Ferrovial bought that company this spring, however, the oil fund once more became the owner of some of the shares in the company, and thus ethically responsible for running the camps.

– We expect companies to respect human rights and take human rights into consideration in their operations, the Norwegian Petroleum Fund communications manager Helena Östman wrote in an email to VG.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today