Pax Netherlands issues report on cluster munitions investments

By agency reporter
June 18, 2016

Pax Christi sister organisation PAX  Netherlands yesterday (17 June 2016) issued an update of its Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions report. Cluster munitions are banned under the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) because they kill indiscriminately. The report shows that 158 financial institutions invested more than  US$28 billion in seven producers of banned cluster munitions.

"Recent use of cluster munitions, in amongst others Yemen, shows the devastating effects of these weapons on civilians," says Suzanne Oosterwijk of Pax. "No financial institution should want to put money in companies that make cluster munitions. These weapons maim and kill indiscriminately – and their investments support that these illegal weapons might show up on the battlefield, putting civilian lives at risk", she added.

The report contains a list of financial institutions that still invest in cluster munitions producers. An investor is defined as someone financially involved in a cluster munitions manufacturer.  Among those listed are Prudential UK which has made an estimated US$43 million available to US based Textron who continue to manufacture and sell cluster munitions.

Earlier this year the British Section of Pax Christi began an engagement with Prudential UK. Writing to their Chair, Paul Manduca, Pax Christi  have pointed out that Prudential UK should not be associated with the trade in cluster munitions. The UK Government has ratified the Cluster Munitions (Prohibition) Act 2010.   The central aim of the act is to ban all assistance, encouragement and inducement to the trade in cluster munitions anywhere in the world, on the part of UK nationals.  Pax Christi will continue to press the issue of investments in Textron with Prudential UK.

The PAX report recommends that States draft national legislation prohibiting investment in producers of cluster munitions. This provides clear guidelines for financial institutions and is in the spirit of the CCM. At the same time, 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.

Pax Christi believe that Christians are called to challenge those systems and institutions that support and perpetuate the production, promotion and sale of the tools of war.  Pax Christi are inspired by the words of Pope Francis who consistently speaks out against war and the arms trade as in his Easter Message of 2015,  "… we ask peace for this world subjected to arms dealers, who profit from the blood of men and women."

* Read the report Worldwide Investment in Cluster Munitions: a shared responsibility here

* Pax Christi http://paxchristi.org.uk/

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