Divest Sudan Blood Stocks? - Mission Statement
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Author: Divest Sudan coalition
In the face of depraved international indifference to this situation, DivestSudan.org has launched a divestment campaign that targets the European and Asian multinational corporations that provide critical economic, commercial, and financial support to Khartoum. These companies either support brutally destructive oil development and production in southern Sudan, or provide investments that benefit only Khartoum and the surrounding region of northern Sudan. Oil revenues, extracted with the blood of southern Sudanese, fund these various commercial projects, and sustain a regime that could not survive without this economic lifeline. [website links to "Sample Target Companies": ABB, Alcatel, PetroChina, Siemens, Tatneft; also refers to Talisman Energy's divestment of Sudanese assets]
ABB understands the legitimate concerns among international stakeholders about companies doing business in Sudan... We have no activities in the Darfur area... As a supplier, we have no operations as such in the country, and do not pay direct taxes... ABB firmly believes it is acting as a force for progress in Sudan; that our business is supporting infrastructure development, as well as the human right to power – and the benefits that this brings. These benefits include the rights to education, health care, clean water etc...ABB has been consulting with Amnesty International Business Group, an international human rights expert...[and] representatives of other organizations such as the UN Global Compact and the Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights. Amnesty’s position has been clear. It makes no recommendation on staying or withdrawing, but advises that once a company is in a country it should proceed with caution and engage in stakeholder dialogue. This is what we are doing... For the above-mentioned projects, as in other situations where civil conflict, uncertain governance or outright violence may occur, we use risk-assessment tools to screen our exports into such areas, and have management mechanisms and processes in place to detect and handle human rights issues at country level and project level... As part of our work to ensure observance of human rights by ABB and our suppliers, we have drawn up – as part of our work within the BLIHR group - a human rights checklist for managers to use when deciding whether to conduct business. We have road-tested this checklist in sub-Saharan Africa and are strengthening parts of it.
Alcatel defends Sudan sales - 'Limited' sales in war-torn region 'promote democracy,' firm tells critics
Author: Bert Hill, Ottawa Citizen
Alcatel has rejected a campaign by U.S. pension funds to stop selling communication equipment to Sudan,...in which an estimated 300,000 people have been killed in violence orchestrated by the government. CALPERS, a big California public sector pension fund with more than $200 billion U.S. in assets, has warned it could sell the shares of Alcatel and other companies if they continue to do business in the Sudan... [Alcatel said,] "We, too, are deeply concerned with the plight of the Sudanese people. However, we sincerely hold the view that our limited operations in Sudan help foster the dissemination of communications services to the population as a whole and as such, our activities help promote democracy and economic development." [also refers to Siemens, ABB operations in Sudan; pressure on Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Cisco, Nortel over practices in China]
Author: Amy Borrus, Business Week
...momentum is building behind a national campaign to prod pension funds, as well as universities, to sell their holdings in companies with ties to Sudan. A coalition of activists across the political spectrum is pushing divestment in hopes of pressuring a regime that the State Dept. has accused of genocide. [refers to PetroChina, Calpers, Siemens, Alcatel, ABB]
...critics allege that doing business there [in Sudan] props up the military government. ABB takes a broader view, fully aware of its responsibilities. Access to electricity and the exploration of natural resources are prerequisites for economic development. Economic progress, in turn, over time will improve access to clean water, education and health care...ABB is engaging an experienced human rights lawyer to support us with stakeholder contacts in Sudan and is taking advice from the Amnesty Business Group, an arm of Amnesty International.
China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) will leave its oilfields in politically risky Sudan out of the assets it plans to inject into its flagship listed unit PetroChina, a source close to the plan said... Analysts have expressed concerns that an injection of CNPC’s Sudan assets would increase PetroChina’s risk profile. A two-year old armed rebellion in Sudan has left 5.5 million people in need of food aid there, according to the United Nations, and the United States has been pushing for U.N. sanctions against its oil industry.
Author: Jürgen Dormann, Chairman & CEO, ABB
Under what circumstances should ABB do business - and where should we not?...when international sanctions are decided, we act accordingly. We don’t do business in Burma, where democratic rights are violated...public debate is growing over whether companies doing business in Sudan, a country ravaged by a horrible civil war, aggravate the plight of the people...if economic sanctions were decided, we would of course abide by them...being there, what can we do to influence the situation positively?...If we pulled out due to the protests, would peace come about faster, or would other companies simply pick up our projects, and thus prolong the conflict?