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Norway lends billions to dictatorships

Egypt, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates bomb hospitals, schools and refugee camps in Yemen – and receive loans from Norway. 

Is it right that Norway and the state should make money by giving loans to dictatorial regimes that stockpile weapons and systematically persecute, imprison, torture and kill people they dislike? It is relatively little known and debated in the media, but a review Ny Tid has done shows that Norwegian citizens' pensions today are secured by interest income from loans given to countries that execute and chemically castrate gays, or carry out mass death sentences against political opponents.
The parliamentary representative and deputy leader of SV Snorre Valen believes that the Norwegian loans to these states help strengthen the regimes' ability to suppress and to sit in power. "Norwegian loans to other countries help fund abuses, illegitimate use of money and, in the worst case, help fund illegal warfare," says Valen, referring to the ongoing war in Yemen.

Journalists and photographers who have covered demonstrations in the country have been shot in the head.

No ethical restrictions. There are strict ethical guidelines and regulations for which companies the Government Pension Fund (Oil Fund) can invest in. For example, you should not buy shares in companies that engage in corruption, coal, child labor, landmines or cluster munitions. But there are no ethical guidelines that limit which states the Petroleum Fund and the Norwegian state can lend money to. Around NOK 1300 billion – 25 per cent of the Petroleum Fund – is currently invested in lending to other governments via government bonds. These. . .

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Øystein Windstad
Former journalist at Ny Tid.

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