US retirement funds invest in companies doing business in Sudan. The California Public Employees Retirement System, or CalPERS, the US’s largest public retirement fund, is one of the biggest investors (2005) at a total of $7.5 billion, according to the Conflict Securities Advisory Group, a private firm that specializes in terrorism risk research for investors. Close behind is the California State Teachers Retirement System with $5.8 billion. Retirement funds in Florida, Alabama, Michigan, and Kentucky are the next biggest investors, but in dozens of states retirement systems have similar investments.
Russia, a G8 member, has an arms-for-oil deal with Khartoum, according to Global Policy Forum, an international policy monitor and advocacy group with ties to the United Nations. In early 2002, the Russian oil company Slavnest signed a $200 million deal to develop untapped oil fields in central Sudan in exchange for Sudan’s right to manufacture Russian battle tanks, making Moscow a chief source of Sudan’s arms, according to organization.
China, whose booming economy is driven by oil, became a major investor in the North African nation’s exploding oil industry, which pumped 345,000 barrels of crude per day in 2004, according to the U.S. Energy Administration. Sudan has at least 563 million barrels of underground crude oil. Companies from AUSTRIA, CANADA, FRANCE, QATAR, KUWAIT, MALAYSIA and SWEDEN also have oil-producing facilities in Sudan, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). (1)
Because the Sudanese government is funding the Janjaweed, companies that substantially aid the government must be seen as complicit in the Sudanese attempt at genocide.
Some of the companies involved: ABB (Switzerland), PetroChina (China), Sinopec (China), Tatneft (Russia), Alcatel (France), Siemens AG (Germany), Alstom Power (France), Bharat Heavy Electricals (India), Harbin Power Equipment Company (China), Lundin Petroleum (Sweden), Nam Fatt Company Bhd (Malaysia), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (India), PECD Bhd (Malaysia), Schlumberger Technology (US) and Kuwait Petroleum Corp. (Kuwait) (2)
After much public pressure - May 17th 2006, “the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) board announced that it would not permit its fund managers to buy shares in nine companies that do business in Sudan.” However, “CalPERS will continue its current policy of ‘constructive engagement’ with companies in its portfolio that have ties to Sudan, CalPERS Investment Committee Chair Charles P. Valdes said in a CalPERS press release. Such engagement ‘means identifying companies that have a presence in Sudan, determining the impact of their business on human rights, and demanding that they respond to our concerns.’” (3) What a crock — divest now!
What can you do for the oppressed in Darfur, check your super fund and ask them to divest any holdings in companies that do business with the Sudanese Government.
Arab League members show their distain for the ‘Civilised World’ again
“The Arab League said in a statement, members of US Congress had signed a letter sent to Amr Moussa (The Arab League's secretary-general) in which they supported the Arab states’ pledge to fund the African Union (AU) mission in Darfur but only as a temporary measure before a U.N. force takes over. The AU agreed in September to extend its mission in Darfur until December 31, with logistical and material support from the United Nations and funding from Arab states but the congressmen voiced concern that no Arab nation had fulfilled its pledge to support the African force. An Arab League spokesman told Reuters that as of Thursday, only Qatar had contributed.” (Reuters October 13 2006) (4)
What a useless, grubby, ineffective organisation the Arab League is!!!
Oh well I guess their wealthiest member is too busy building Mosques and Wahhabi touting boarding schools.