OTTAWA, 16 June, 2016 /CNW/ - A new report today on explosive investments shows that 158 financial institutions invested more than US$28 billion into seven producers of banned cluster munitions. The report by Dutch peace organisation PAX was released today in Ottawa, to put pressure on Canada and other governments to put an end to these investments.
Cluster munitions are banned under the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) because they kill indiscriminately. The report looks at investments into a shortlist of companies involved in the production of cluster munitions. These are China Aerospace Science and Industry (China), China Aerospace Science and Technology (China), Hanwha (South Korea), Norinco (China), Orbital ATK (US), Poongsan (South Korea) and Textron (US).
Textron produces the CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon. This weapon, banned under the CCM, has been used by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, reports by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have shown. Between June 2012 and April 2016, 49 financial institutions invested over US$12 billion in Textron, the report shows.
Hall of Shame
The Hall of Shame lists the 158 financial institutions that invested over US$28 billion in the seven companies researched in the report in the research period.
The majority of the financial institutions included in the Hall of Shame are from countries that have not yet joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), the international treaty that categorically bans this weapon. Of serious concern is that the report demonstrates there are still 20 financial institutions from seven countries which have joined the CCM.
Four of these are from Canada, where activists are calling for disinvestment today. CI Financial, Manulife Financial, Royal Bank of Canada and Sun Life Financial are included in the Hall of Shame. Jointly, they have invested US$565 million between June 2012 and April 2016 in cluster munitions producers.
Canada has declared that it considers investments to be banned under its current legislation. Activists are calling on Canada to show leadership by ensuring these investments end.
Hall of Fame
The report also includes examples of good practices. In the "Hall of Fame" and "runners-up" category, 84 financial institutions are credited for having policies in place to (comprehensively) ban investments in cluster munition producers. NEI Investments is the first Canadian financial institution to make it to the Hall of Fame.
Governments showing leadership in ending explosive investments
An unprecedented and positive development is that states are now also legislating against investments in cluster munitions. Ten states in total have adopted legislation that prohibits (forms of) investments in cluster munitions: Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Samoa, Spain and Switzerland. In addition, 28 other states that joined the CCM did not legislate (yet), but stated they consider investments to be prohibited by the Convention.
Although the CCM does not explicitly prohibit financial investments, it can be interpreted as a form of "assistance", which is prohibited under Article 1(1)c of the Convention. Spain is the latest country to have introduced a ban on the financing of cluster munitions, in mid-2015.
The full "Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions, a shared responsibility" report and key findings (including named financial institutions), is available under embargo here at 01:00 EZT on 16 June 2016. Media resources are collated on Dropbox here: http://bit.ly/1tg4YeI.
Stop Explosive Investments: www.stopexplosiveinvestments.org
SOURCE Mines Action Canada
For further information: Samantha Bolton, +41 79 2392366 or [email protected] or Jane Van Lanschot Hubrecht, +41 78 911 0880 or [email protected] or in Canada Erin Hunt, +1-613-302-3088 or +1-613-241-3777.