In our on-going efforts to shine a spotlight on the real facts of why our current world is so dangerous, we want everyone to understand who is really both promoting war and who is profiting.
More than $28 billion has been invested in the production of deadly cluster munitions over the past four years, according to a report released Thursday. The Cluster Munition Coalition said in a statement that the report on worldwide investments in the weapons — which release submunitions or bomblets on impact — found 158 financial institutions involved in funding their production.
As a result, the Coalition is calling on the institutions and governments “to put an end once and for all to investment in producers of cluster bombs.” Cluster bombs are banned under international law, but only 100 countries have actually become state parties to that convention. At present, countries like Syria and Yemen are being bombarded with cluster munitions, added the report.
Cambodia-based Denise Coghlan, head of the Cambodian Campaign to Ban Landmines, told Anadolu Agency on Thursday that the use of the weapons in those countries is “an incredible disaster in terms of creating danger for displaced people and refugees”. “This week, on June 20, it is World Refugee Day, when we will think about people disabled and displaced by cluster bombs. For these financial institutions to be spending this much money perpetuating these weapons is a mortal outrage,” Coghlan stressed.
Between June 1, 2012 and April 8 of this year, the financial bodies from 14 countries pumped the cash into seven weapons producers that include “China Aerospace Science and Industry, China Aerospace Science and Technology, Norinco (China), Hanwha and Poongsan (South Korea), Orbital ATK and Textron (United States)”, the statement said. Munitions produced by Textron were found to have been used by Saudi-led coalition forces in Yemen since 2015.
“The vast majority of the financial institutions (138) are from countries that have not joined the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions,” it added. The U.S., which hosts by far the most companies on the list with 74, is not a signatory, 29 are from China and 26 from South Korea. However, 20 financial institutions that have invested in producers of cluster munitions are from countries that have joined to the convention: Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and United Kingdom.”
Some of the countries listed in the report have adopted legislation (pdf) that bans certain forms of investment in cluster bombs, including Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Samoa, Spain, and Switzerland. Others have “made an interpretive statement that investments in cluster munitions are or can be seen as prohibited by the Convention on Cluster Munitions.”
Despite the international ban on cluster bombs, more than 150 financial institutions have invested $28 billion in companies that produce them, according to a new report released Thursday. Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo are among the 158 banks, pension funds, and other firms listed in the “Hall of Shame” compiled by the Netherlands-based organization PAX, a member of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC).
It said that between 2015 and this year, 91 percent of the cluster munitions casualties in Yemen “were civilians, including deminers”, and that 22 percent of the civilian casualties were children.
Cluster bombs, which can be launched from the air or ground, operate by ejecting smaller sub-munitions or “bomblets” that can saturate an area of several football fields, according to CMC. They can remain volatile long after a conflict ends.
“Financial institutions must stop turning a blind eye to the lethal consequences of their investments,” said CMC ambassador Branislav Kapetanović, who survived a cluster bomb in Serbia 16 years ago. “Cluster munitions are being used in Yemen and Syria, causing significant civilian casualties including among children and women. All banks and financial institutions must prohibit investment in companies that produce these indiscriminate weapons.”
Financial institutions should develop policies that exclude all financial links with companies involved in cluster munitions production. Because all investment facilitates this production, no exceptions should be made for third-party financial services, for funds that follow an index, or for civilian project financing for a company also involved in cluster munitions.
We, as customers of these financial institutions, should also take actions. Boycott those institutions that participate. Simply take your business elsewhere and let them know why you are taking those actions. Secondly, if your company or employer has retirement or investment packages with these organizations, let your employer know that giving their business to these institutions is a moral outrage and shame. These may be small steps, but they ARE STEPS YOU CAN TAKE, now that you know.