Oldham Council still using CCTV equipment from Chinese supplier linked to human rights abuses

Oldham Council is using CCTV equipment supplied by Chinese company Hikvision, despite a House of Commons report last year which linked Hikvision to serious human rights violations against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.

Oldham’s Liberal Democrat Leader councillor Howard Sykes MBE has written to the Council urging them to blacklist Hikvision and if possible, remove their equipment from sites across Oldham where possible.

A breakdown of Hikvision equipment owned and operated by the council was obtained by the Liberal Democrat Group after a freedom of information request was issued by councillor Sykes.

Councillor Sykes said, “Hikvision have been blacklisted in the United States because of concerns about their role in human rights violations, targeting Uyghurs in Xinjiang. The firm has provided camera technology which has been used in internment camps in the region as well as also providing surveillance outside places of worship. It is completely inappropriate for Hikvision products to be used in this country.”

Last year, the Foreign Affairs Committee called for a nationwide ban on Hikvision products, as well as on products from another Chinese company named Dahua. Campaign group ‘Big Brother Watch’ highlighted that 73% of councils in the UK use CCTV cameras made by the two companies, as well as 57% of secondary schools and 60% of NHS trusts.

Oldham Council has confirmed that Hikvision equipment is in use at Chadderton Town Hall, Old Town Hall, Tandle View, Old Mill House, Aster House, Hopwood Court, and Charles Morris House.

Councillor Sykes said, “Councils have had over a year since the Foreign Affairs Committee made its recommendations. The Liberal Democrats are calling for action to prevent the use of equipment linked to human rights abuses. Oldham Council should blacklist Hikvision as an approved supplier and set about, where practical, the replacement of any Hikvision equipment in Oldham Borough.”

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