139 financial institutions worldwide are investing over US$24 billion in companies producing cluster munitions according to a report launched today by Cluster Munition Coalition member IKV Pax Christi (the Netherlands). The report “Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions: a Shared Responsibility”, details the scale of investment in the producers of this deadly weapon by banks, pension funds and other financial institutions around the world.
Today, campaigners from the Cluster Munition Coalition will take part in a global day of action calling on financial institutions worldwide to end all explosive investments in cluster munition producers and encouraging governments to introduce legislation to ban investment in companies that produce cluster munitions.
Cluster munitions have recently been used against civilians in Syria. These weapons have killed and injured thousands of people for decades, which is why the majority of the world’s nations have banned them. Syria has not joined the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions. “Syria’s use of cluster munitions should be a wake-up call for governments and financial institutions of the severe and real consequences of this indiscriminate weapon” said Amy Little, Campaign Manager at the Cluster Munition Coalition.
The new report from IKV Pax Christi shows which financial institutions have invested in cluster munition producers since June 2010. The majority of these investments come from financial institutions in states that have not yet joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The report’s ‘Hall of Shame’ includes 22 financial institutions from 6 countries that are part of the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions: Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
“On this global day of action we are calling on governments to cement their commitment against cluster munitions. The only way to prevent money going to producers of this abhorrent weapon for good is to install legislation banning all investments in cluster munition producers.” said Little.
States that have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions have committed themselves to never produce cluster bombs and also never to assist, encourage or induce anyone else to do so. While a growing group of States Parties to the Convention have enacted national laws that prohibit public or private financial institutions from providing such assistance, others have not yet taken this step.
Although the number of financial institutions that invest in companies producing cluster munitions remains high, the report also shows that more and more financial institutions and governments are installing policies to ensure the capital for cluster bomb producers will eventually dry up.
“Although too much money is being invested in companies that make cluster bombs, it is encouraging to see a growing trend in governments taking action to put an end to this. It is time for both governments and financial institutions to ban these explosive investments for good”, says Roos Boer, co-author of the report for IKV Pax Christi.
Since the 2012 update of the report, four new states have adopted legislation that prohibits investments in cluster munitions (Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Samoa and Switzerland) bringing the total number of countries with an investment ban to nine. Twenty-seven countries have stated that investments in cluster munitions are or can be seen as prohibited by the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Campaigners will be marking the global day of action to Stop Explosive Investments worldwide including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxemburg, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.