HP removed from program of ethics conference in Italy as "Global #StopHP Week of Action" kicks off
The multinational company Hewlett Packard (HP) has been removed from the program of the conference "Ethics and Social Responsibility in Information Technology" set for December 5 in Milan, Italy. (original program)
BDS Italy, which promotes a boycott of HP as part of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, wrote to conference organizers informing them of the role HP plays in providing technological support for Israel’s military occupation and denial of Palestinians human rights. The letter noted that HP’s participation would not only discredit an important and timely conference but would also permit the company to create a false image of socially responsibility.
BDS Italy welcomes the decision by the organizers, which is consistent with their commitment to promote ethics in the IT profession as well as general solidarity. The news comes as the Global #StopHP Week of Action kicks off.
From today, November 25, though December 3, over 100 actions will be organized around the world, including twenty in Italy, signaling the largest coordinated BDS action organized to date.
Hewlett Packard companies developed and maintain the biometric identification system for Israel’s military checkpoints used to collect data on Palestinians and deny their freedom of movement. HP supplies systems to Israeli prisons where Palestinian political prisoners are held, including minors, many without trial and subjected to torture. HP provides services to illegal Israeli settlements and is among the top suppliers of technology to the Israeli military responsible for the daily oppression of Palestinians.
In Italy events are planned in 11 cities: Bologna, Cagliari, Florence, Milan, Naples, Pisa, Potenza, Rome, Ravenna, Turin and Udine.
Initiatives range from the creation of mock checkpoints on city squares to leafleting at shops selling HP products, talks at universities and letters to public officials calling for HP to be excluded based on ethical supplier policies.
In London, on November 29, the United Nations day for Solidarity with the Palestinian People, activists will be on hand for HP Enterprise’s European showcase event where 10,000 participants are expected.
In Derry, Northern Ireland, where the City Council recently endorsed the BDS campaign, a councilor has committed to returning HP products.
A number of churches have already divested from HP, including the Presbyterian Church (USA) with over 1.5 million members.
In Italy, Pax Christi, the Italian Forum of Water Movements, the USB trade union, the NGO Un ponte per... and the Network of Jews Against the Occupation, among others, have pledged not to purchase HP products.
After years of complicity with Israeli violations of international law and Palestinians human rights, it is time for Hewlett Packard to abide by its own code of ethics, which claims “[r]especting human rights is a core value."