14 June 2012

Stop funding cluster bomb producers

German members of parliament receive the 2012 disinvestment report.  From left: Roos Boer (IKV Pax Christi), Christoph Schnurr (FDP), Inge Hoeger (Die Linke), Suzanne Oosterwijk (IKV Pax Christi/cluster bomb), Wolfgang Thierse (Vice president of the German parliament, SPD), Jan van Aken (Die Linke), Gerhard Schick (Green Party), Agnes Brugger (Green Party), Thomas Kuechenmeister (Facing Finance).Photo Credit: IKV Pax Christi.Global report shows progress made but billions still invested in companies producing weapons banned by most of the world(London, 14 June 2012): The Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) is calling on governments to ban investments in companies producing cluster bombs, following news that billions of dollars are still being invested in producers of these weapons. The CMC believes that countries that have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions have a legal obligation to halt such investments.The “Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions, a shared responsibility” report by CMC members IKV Pax Christi and FairFin, launched today in Berlin, shows that since 2009 banks and other financial institutions from 16 countries have invested more than $43billion (USD) in companies making cluster bombs.The bulk of these investments come from states that have not yet joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), the global ban that prohibits the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster bombs, as well as assistance in any of these acts.“It is encouraging that an increasing number of banks are pulling funds from cluster bomb producers, and that countries are legislating to prevent this practice, but this report clearly shows that more needs to be done,” said Laura Cheeseman, Director of the CMC.“Most of the world has banned cluster bombs because of the severe and long-lasting impact they have, but even some countries that have joined the Convention are still allowing money to be invested in their production. The best way to prevent this is to explicitly legislate against it,” Cheeseman added.Today CMC campaigners in Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, the UK and elsewhere are urging their governments to take this step. They are also urging banks and financial institutions to recognize that their customers do not want their money being invested in deadly, indiscriminate weapons that have been banned by most of the world because of the devastation they cause.Under the legal obligations of the Convention, states that have joined are not only legally bound to cease making cluster bombs themselves but also never to assist, encourage or induce anyone else to do so. While some States Parties to the Convention have enacted national laws that prohibit public or private financial institutions from providing such assistance, many others have not yet taken this step.The Hall of Shame in IKV Pax Christi and FairFin’s report contains information about 137 banks and financial institutions that invest in producers of cluster bombs. Of these, 27 come from the following nine states that have joined the CCM: States Parties France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the UK, and signatories Australia, Canada, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.The CMC is today calling on all States Parties and signatories that have not already done so to swiftly enact national legislation that would explicitly make this activity illegal.Although today’s report contains concerning news, it also shows that progress is being made – both by states and financial institutions – to work towards a world where no more cluster bombs are produced.Most recently Italy has joined Belgium, Ireland, Luxemburg and New Zealand as countries that have national legislation into place making it illegal to invest in companies that make cluster bombs.This year The Netherlands and global banking capital Switzerland have also begun the process to enact similar legislation, showing that with political will these investments can be banned.In further promising moves, 21 other states have made statements saying they deem investment in cluster bomb producers to be banned under the Convention, but have yet to follow these statements up with concrete law.“There is still far too much money being invested in companies that make cluster bombs, but we are also pleased to see the positive steps being made. We congratulate both the states and the financial institutions that have cleaned up their act to make the world a safer place for innocent civilians this year and are hopeful that this trend continues,” said Cheeseman.CMC Press Release - Stop funding cluster bomb producersStop Explosive Investments Website