Kommunal Landspensjonskasse, Oslo, is divesting from two U.S. operators of immigration detention facilities for allegedly violating labor and human rights laws, KLP Group said in a release Monday.
KLP had 727.6 billion Norwegian kroner ($71.2 billion) in assets as of June 30, and a 4 million kroner holding in companies CoreCivic and GEO Group. Those shares have now been sold.
Kiran Aziz, head of responsible investments at KLP, said in the news release that the two operators of the facilities in the U.S. "are among the largest providers of security services. Refugees at some of the reception centers are detained against their will and without legal cause. Such arbitrary detention is a violation of international law."
Ms. Aziz said the two operators have also been criticized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for detaining refugees without legal cause or due process, while several human rights groups have documented human rights violations over a long period of time. The alleged abuses include poor living conditions, inadequate health care for residents suffering from life-threatening illnesses, slave-like working conditions and sexual assaults, Ms. Aziz said in the release.
KLP tried unsuccessfully to engage with the companies, which denied the conditions, and "have shown little understanding of the allegations leveled against them," Ms. Aziz said.
"The companies' operations represent an unacceptable risk that KLP's guidelines for responsible investment may be contravened. In our assessment, there is a considerable risk that the human rights abuses will continue" prompting the exclusions, she said.
CoreCivic spokesman Matthew Davio said in an email, "KLP's decision is about politics, not about the company we are, and their statements are deliberately false and misleading." CoreCivic does not operate refugee reception centers and the vast majority of people in its civil immigration facilities are not refugees, he said.
"KLP's decision is part of a disappointing trend of politicized investment decisions, which are made based on misinformation and extremist rhetoric rather than an open and honest conversation about the enormous challenges at hand," Mr. Davio said.
An email to GEO Group was not immediately returned.