College of Leeds Accused of Investing in Corporations with Alleged Hyperlinks to Human Rights Abuses

The College reportedly invested over £2,000,000 in corporations which are accused of being linked to the implementation of human rights abuses towards Palestinians.

An Open Letter from LUU Palestine Solidarity Group (PSG) to the Vice Chancellor of the College of Leeds has criticised the College, accusing it of investing a major sum, which can embrace funds derived from college students’ tuition charges, on “enterprise exercise which allows Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights.”

The letter, which has obtained 469 signatures as of 19:01pm Thursday 1st November, makes the declare that its findings contradict the College of Leeds’ Moral Funding Coverage, which acknowledges that the College and its funding managers “have a dedication to making sure that corporations through which it invests undertake excessive moral requirements and accountable attitudes.”

The letter identifies that, as of its valuation on the 31st July 2018, the College invested £1,299,369 in HSBC, £194,883 in Airbus, £735,012 in United Applied sciences Company, and £123,299 in Keyence Company. PSG consider, and allege within the open letter, that each one these corporations may be linked to actions dedicated by the State of Israel that are accused of “breaking worldwide legislation and breaching the UN Declaration of Human Rights.”

Picture: Monetary Occasions

The letter means that these corporations “are straight linked within the implementation of […] human rights abuses” and that, due to this fact, “the College of Leeds knowingly allows this exercise by investing in these corporations.”

In response to the Open Letter, a College spokesperson stated:

“The College of Leeds’ endowment portfolio is managed by Sarasin & Companions who, as a part of their regular funding analysis and evaluation course of, take account of social, environmental and moral issues within the collection of investments.

“We’ve got just lately adopted a local weather lively technique, the aim of which is to drive behavioural change supporting decarbonisation by way of a mixture of divestments and engagement and because of this have divested of our holdings in Airbus, United Applied sciences and Keyence Company which had been all held not directly in a International Equities Fund.

“The College Council agreed to undertake a local weather lively technique on 31 Might 2018 and the College has been implementing this during the last 4 months. Core funds which included oblique investments in Airbus, United Applied sciences, and Keyence Company had been bought on the 15 October 2018.”

Information of the College’s divestments has come for the reason that publishing of their current Funding Portfolio on the 31st July 2018. This data was not recognized by PSG when the Open Letter was initially revealed.

To help their accusations towards the College of Leeds, PSG’s letter refers back to the Summer time of 2014, the place over 2,000 Palestinians had been killed on account of battle throughout Operation Protecting Edge. The letter alleges that:

  •  Parts of the artillery used to hold out the destruction of 17 hospitals and 89,000 properties had been offered by Elbit Techniques, one of many many aerospace corporations which HSBC holds shares in.
  • The fighter jets employed by the IDF had been maintained by United Applied sciences Company.
  • The helicopters which patrolled Gaza’s sea border had been provided by Airbus.

Additional navy exercise, unspecified within the letter, is alleged to have been aided by tools offered by Keyence Company.

The Open Letter, and its feedback in regards to the State of Israel, aren’t with out controversy. Ipsos Mori polling discovered that 93% of British Jews say that Israel is a robust a part of their id and, with over 1000 Jewish college students learning in Leeds, many have approached the Jewish society with their considerations over the Open Letter.

Despite this, the letter asks the Vice Chancellor to “instantly divest from the above 4 corporations” and to “undertake a stronger screening coverage which excludes funding in any firm concerned within the human rights abuses of Palestinians.”

With the College having divested their holdings in Airbus, United Applied sciences and Keyence Company, a spokesperson additional commented:

“There are not any direct funding in armament corporations however our funding managers proceed to observe the HSBC place and are in dialogue to grasp investments on this space.”

21 members of the College’s Workers have signed the letter, in addition to 381 present college students and 49 Leeds alumni. The letter has additionally been signed by a variety of LUU societies, together with LUU Amnesty Worldwide and LUU Pupil Motion for Refugees. Nonetheless, it’s unclear whether or not all society members had been democratically consulted earlier than their societies signed the letter, a problem which LUU are investigating additional.

LUU Palestine Group have said that the Open Letter might be introduced to the Vice Chancellor on the finish of November.

The Vice-Chancellor will reply to the letter as soon as it has been obtained.

Click on right here to learn the Open Letter in full.

In case you have been affected any of the content material on this article, and would love voice your personal opinion, then please e-mail any responses to

There might be an area in subsequent week’s subject of The Gryphon, distributed ninth November 2018, for an open and secure dialogue.

Robbie Cairns

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