Nearly 70 British parliamentarians from various political parties have requested the government to prohibit the use of widely used CCTV models that have been connected to human rights violations in China. Along with prominent Labour human rights advocates Baroness Chakrabarti and Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws, the group includes former Conservative ministers David Davis MP, Lord Bethell, Steve Baker MP, and Damien Green MP, as well as Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey, SNP Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Alyn Smith, Green MP Caroline Lucas, and crossbench peers.
The 67 legislators urge that the technology be banned from use or sale in the UK because they ‘condemn [Hikvision and Dahua’s] participation in technology-enabled human rights violations in China’. They also demanded ‘an impartial national examination of the scope, capabilities, ethics, and human rights implications of contemporary CCTV in the United Kingdom.’ The declaration was coordinated by Big Brother Watch, a privacy and civil liberties organisation, and is backed by Rene Cassin, Stop Uyghur Genocide, Free Tibet, and Hong Kong Watch, among others.
Hikvision and Dahua, which are partially owned by the Chinese government, are now prohibited from doing business in the United States due to security concerns and evidence of their widespread use in so-called ‘re-education’ camps in Xinjiang, where an estimated 1 million Uyghurs are detained and subjected to abuse, torture, and forced sterilisation. The Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons asked the UK to place similar limitations on Chinese intelligence organisations in November of last year.
According to a new study, UK public organisations are awarding large contracts to buy the disputed Chinese-made technology, despite the government’s refusal to take action. The MPs’ statement follows a six-month investigation by Big Brother Watch that included thousands of Freedom of Information requests. Big Brother Watch reported that the majority of public institutions, including 73 percent of UK councils, 57 percent of secondary schools in England, 6 out of 10 NHS Trusts, UK universities, and police forces, employ Hikvision or Dahua CCTV cameras.
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