This week saw three countries take concrete steps in banning investment in producers of indiscriminate weapons that continue to injure and kill civilians.
On 8 December, the Dutch Parliament accepted a motion that prohibits investment in cluster munitions. The move was named a “revolutionary step” by those who have worked on the issues of cluster bombs for years. Although many financial institutions in the Netherlands have already pulled investments from cluster bomb producers, there still remain a handful that continue to invest in these companies.
The Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Bill in the UK had its second reading in parliament on 8 December. The Bill, which will enable the country to proceed with ratification, includes a prohibition on direct financing of cluster munitions. Although the Bill does not prohibit indirect financing, the Government has said it intends to work with the financial sector, NGOs and other interested parties to promote a voluntary code of conduct which would prevent indirect financing, and if necessary would use the right to initiate legislation.
In New Zealand, on 10 December, the New Zealand parliament passed legislation to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions with a unanimous vote. Due to relentless campaign work by the Aotearoa New Zealand Cluster Munition Coalition (ANZCMC), a prohibition on investment in companies that manufacture cluster munitions was included in the bill. Mary Wareham, coordinator of the ANZCMC said “we are pleased at how the Bill was strengthened and clarified through the Select Committee process, particularly with the addition of the prohibition on investment in companies that manufacture cluster munitions.”
The Netherlands, New Zealand and the UK now join a number of other countries which have taken action on disinvestment, including Belgium, Ireland and Luxembourg who already have legislation in place.