The Swiss bank UBS announced on 10 May that it would exclude producers of cluster munitions from its funds managed in Switzerland and Luxembourg. The Cluster Munition Coalition welcomes this decision and urges other financial institutions to follow suit, noting that the international treaty banning cluster bombs takes effect on 1 August.
“This is positive news that should spark a trend – if it’s financially viable in Switzerland and Luxembourg, then it must be elsewhere in the world too,” said Paul Vermeulen, the Swiss section director of Handicap International, a CMC member organisation that has been a strong advocate for disinvestment. “No investment in cluster munitions can be considered marginal, and we pay very close attention to how financial institutions implement these kinds of exclusions: using cluster bombs has catastrophic consequences, and profiting from their use is unacceptable.”
The UBS announcement comes after CMC members IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen released their updated report, “Worldwide investments in cluster munitions: A shared responsibility” in Geneva last month. The report documented how leading financial institutions worldwide – including several in Switzerland – invest more than US$43 billion in cluster bomb producers.
On 10 March 2010, the Swiss National Council passed two motions to prohibit financial support for the production of all banned weapons, including cluster munitions.