It’s been a busy few days in the global efforts to end the suffering caused by cluster munitions. We are thrilled that Madagascar ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on May 20 becoming the 101st State Party. We look forward to working with Madagascar to achieve the aims of the treaty.
Today, the Cluster Munition Coalition and Dutch peace organization, PAX released the 2017 Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions: a shared responsibility report. This report outlines links between the financial community and producers of banned cluster munitions.
Canadians will be concerned to learn that there were still Canadian financial institutions listed on the Hall of Shame. On a positive note, again this year one Canadian financial institution is listed on the Hall of Fame. Recent developments in Canada include the tabling of a private members bill in the Senate to clearly state that investment in cluster munition producers is prohibited in Canada. Mines Action Canada urges all Senators and Members of Parliament to ensure the investing in companies which make these banned weapons is prohibited in Canada.
The full press release is below. Take this opportunity to see if your financial institution invests in banned cluster bombs.
Billions $ invested in producers of globally banned cluster bombs
(Tokyo, 23 May 2017) – While 119 nations have joined the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions to rid the world of cluster munitions, in the past three years, 166 financial institutions invested US$31 billion in companies that produce cluster munitions. Investing in cluster munitions is morally unacceptable with devastating consequences when these weapons are used among civilians. Yet, financial institutions turn a blind eye and continue investing in companies that produce them. The Cluster Munition Coalition urges all financial institutions to stop investing in producers of cluster munitions.
According to the report ‘Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions: a shared responsibility’ published today by Cluster Munition Coalition member PAX (the Netherlands), the US$31 billion investment by 166 financial institutions went to six companies that produce cluster munitions. Of the six, two companies are located in China (China Aerospace Science and Industry and Norinco), two in South Korea (Hanwha and Poongsan) and two in the U.S. (Orbital ATK and Textron).
“Cluster bombs are banned for a clear reason, because they disproportionately harm civilians, as is the case with the ongoing use of cluster munitions by Syrian and Russian forces in Syria and by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. That is why no banks or financial institutions should put a penny in companies that produce these illegal and harmful weapons, and no company or country should produce cluster munitions,” said Firoz Alizada, Campaigns and Communications Manager at the Cluster Munition Coalition.
“It is unacceptable to see an increase of US$3 billion investments in producers of cluster bombs in 2017 in comparison to 2016. Nonetheless, we are pleased that Textron, a major producer of cluster bombs in the US announced last year that it would cease the production of cluster munitions and that, by the end of 2017, the company will have no involvement in the production of these weapons,” said Maaike Beenes, co-author of the PAX report. “We will be following closely to see if Textron does indeed end all involvement with cluster munitions this year. We also call on all other producers to stop producing cluster bombs without further delay,” she added.
42 financial institutions in 11 countries have enacted policies ending all investments in cluster munition producers. Furthermore, 46 financial institutions in 14 countries have taken steps to prohibit investments in companies producing the weapons, however, they must fix loopholes in their policies to put an end to all investments in producers of cluster bombs.
The 166 financial institutions still investing in cluster munitions are in fourteen countries. The vast majority of the financial institutions (151) are from countries that have not joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Of these, 85 are from the United States, 30 from China and 27 from South Korea. However, 15 financial institutions that have invested in producers of cluster munitions are from countries that have joined the convention: Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The number of investors in these countries has decreased from 20 in 2016 to 15 in 2017. To fulfill their convention obligations, States Parties to the convention must take action to prohibit investments by all financial institutions.
In strengthening the norm against cluster munitions, ten countries have enacted national legislation banning investments in cluster munitions. In addition, 28 countries have expressed the view that investments in the production of cluster munitions are prohibited.