HSBC grilled over complicity in human rights abuse by shareholders and campaigners at Friday’s AGM

23 April 2018 - 5:00pm
Press release
  • HSBC’s annual general meeting on Friday was attended by activists from War on Want and Palestine Solidarity Campaign, asking the bank about its business dealings with companies selling weapons and military equipment to Israel
  • Over a quarter of questions asked at the AGM were about the bank’s complicity in human rights violations against Palestinians. Several referenced the bank’s criminal complicity in other abuses
  • Outside, protesters at a demonstration organised by War on Want and Palestine Solidarity campaign called on HSBC to end its complicity in violence and human rights abuses against Palestinians and to ‘Stop Arming Israel’
  • Over 18,000 people around the UK have expressed their concerns on the issue in writing to HSBC Group Chief Executive John Flint. Over 20 HSBC branches nationwide have seen regular protests and pickets

Photography available here (credit: War on Want)

Ryvka Barnard, Senior Campaigner on Militarism and Security at War on Want, said: “Shareholders are absolutely right to be raising concerns about the potential damage to the bank’s reputation. If HSBC doesn’t end its business ties with companies arming Israel, its name will become synonymous with violence and oppression.”

Ben Jamal, Director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “The fact that the Q&A was dominated by questions about the bank’s complicity in human rights violations against Palestinians, alongside the demonstration outside, means that no HSBC shareholder left unaware of the depth of global concern on this issue. Given that HSBC’s board is still not acknowledging its failures to undertake its responsibility to avoid complicity in human rights abuses, the campaign will continue with increasing numbers of protests outside HSBC branches across the country.”

British high street bank HSBC profits from Israel’s military violence against Palestinians through investments and loans to companies which supply military equipment to Israel. Israel’s security forces use such weapons for brutal and illegal violence against Palestinians, including extrajudicial executions, attacks on unarmed protesters, house demolitions using armoured equipment, mass arrests and the military blockade and large scale bombings on the Gaza Strip. The international Criminal Court is currently investigating the recent killings of unarmed protesters in Gaza and the UN is compiling a list of companies complicit in Israeli violations of international law.

Follow the campaign and the protest online with #StopArmingIsrael and #HSBComplicity

Press Contacts
Marienna Pope-Weidemann
Press Officer, War on Want
media@waronwant.org

Sawsan Bastawy      
Media and Communications Officer, Palestine Solidarity Campaign
media@palestinecampaign.org

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