Cluster Munition Coalition Calls On Governments to Ban Investments in Cluster Munition Producers

For Immediate Release

Cluster Munition Coalition Calls On Governments to Ban Investments in Cluster Munition Producers

Cluster bombs are banned under international law but more states need to ban investment

BRUSSELS - A new report by Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) members IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen  shows that worldwide, 166 private and public financial institutions from 15 countries continue to invest in companies that produce cluster munitions. Since the treaty that bans the weapon – the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions – was adopted in May 2008, the amount invested in companies that still produce these weapons totals US$39 billion. Cluster munitions kill and maim civilians both at the time of use and decades after they have been used, and have been banned by 108 countries.

Although some countries, including Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg and New Zealand, have taken the lead in banning investment in these illegal weapons by passing national legislation, many countries and financial institutions are lagging behind. Campaigners are calling on states to enact national legislation that prohibits financial institutions from investing in companies that continue to produce these weapons. Financial institutions in 15 countries are still investing in cluster munition producing companies, including financial institutions in nine countries that have joined the Convention, demonstrating the need to legislate against such investments.

“In order to stop the harm caused by cluster munitions, all countries should join the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” said Laura Cheeseman, director of the Cluster Munition Coalition. “Countries that have already signed the ban treaty should pass strong national legislation to ensure that they are not contributing to the production of weapons that they have outlawed,” she added.

The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions prohibits assistance with the use, production, export, and stockpiling of cluster munitions. The CMC believes that financial investment in the production of cluster munitions is a form of assistance.

  • According to the IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen report ‘Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions: A Shared Responsibility’:
    166 financial institutions from 15 countries are investing in cluster munition producers.
  • The majority of these financial institutions (128) are from five countries that have not yet joined the Convention: China, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States, plus Taiwan.
  • However, 38 financial institutions are from countries that have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions and are continuing to invest in cluster munition producers. These nine countries are: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

The CMC and its research arm, the Cluster Munition Monitor, have documented that:

  • Four countries have passed national legislation that explicitly prohibits investments in the development and production of cluster munitions: Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg and New Zealand.
  • The Netherlands and Switzerland have adopted motions to develop legislation prohibiting investment in cluster munitions, and parliamentary action and discussions are ongoing in Germany, Italy and Norway.
  • 16 countries have stated that they consider investment in cluster munition producers to be prohibited under the Convention: Australia, Cameroon, Colombia, Croatia, France, Guatemala, the Holy See, Hungary, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malawi, Malta, Mexico, Rwanda, the United Kingdom and Zambia. Campaigners are calling for statements of intent to be followed up with strong legislation.
    http://www.stopexplosiveinvestments.org/legislation

European Parliament resolutions in 2005, 2007 and 2008 called upon member states to disinvest from cluster munitions. Twenty out of 27 European Union (EU) countries have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions, three have passed national laws prohibiting investment and another seven EU countries have said they believe investment in cluster munition producers should be prohibited.

“Individually, some countries like Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg and New Zealand are leading the way,” said Roos Boer, a co-author of the report from CMC member organisation IKV Pax Christi. “We are calling on other countries to follow their example by passing national laws banning investments, and calling on financial institutions to disinvest from these weapons.”

For more information, please contact:
Samantha Bolton, +32-49-239-2656 or +41-79-239-2366, samanthabolton@gmail.com
Laura Cheeseman, +44-7515-575-175, laura@icblcmc.org

For more photos of the global launch in Brussels visit:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clustermunitioncoalition/sets/72157626677112643

The Cluster Munition Coalition’s ‘Stop Explosive Investments’ campaign
http://www.stopexplosiveinvestments.org

The Cluster Munition Coalition
http://www.stopclustermunitions.org

The report ‘Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions: A Shared Responsibility’ by IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen will be available from 25 May 2011, 10.00 Central European Time (CET) at: http://www.ikvpaxchristi.nl/stopexplosiveinvestments

NOTES
About cluster bombs:
A cluster munition (or cluster bomb) is a weapon containing multiple - often hundreds - of small explosive submunitions or bomblets. Cluster munitions are dropped from the air or fired from the ground and designed to break open in mid-air, releasing the submunitions over an area that can be the size of several football fields. This means they cannot discriminate between civilians and soldiers. Many of the submunitions fail to explode on impact and remain a threat to lives and livelihoods for decades after a conflict.

About the Convention on Cluster Munitions:
The Convention on Cluster Munitions bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions and requires countries to clear affected areas within 10 years and destroy stockpiles of the weapon within eight. The Convention includes groundbreaking provisions requiring assistance to victims and affected communities. Signed in Oslo in December 2008, the Convention entered into force as binding international law on 1 August 2010 and is the most significant international disarmament treaty since the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty banning antipersonnel landmines.

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The CMC is an international coalition with more than 350 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in around 100 countries to encourage urgent action against cluster bombs. The CMC facilitates NGO efforts worldwide to educate governments, the public and the media about the problems of cluster munitions and to urge universalisation and full implementation of the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions.
http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/

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