Harsdorf co-sponsors move to require divestment in Sudan

E-mail Shelia Harsdorf with your thoughts and concerns the divestiture issue.

In a bi-partisan effort to divert investments that support the state-sponsored genocide taking place in the Durfur region by the Sudanese government, Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) and Representative Fred Kessler (D-Milwaukee) have called on the state to remove from investments by the Wisconsin State Investment Board any company that provides support to the military in Sudan.

Since early 2003, Sudanese troops and government-sponsored militias have carried out the coordinated and targeted killing of the black African population in Sudan’s Darfur region. For the first time in history, the U.S. Congress, State Department, and Executive Branch have all declared that an ongoing massacre amounts to genocide and that the Sudanese government is directly responsible.

To date, 400,000 people have been slaughtered, 2.5 million more have been driven from their homes and 70 percent of all Darfurian villages have been destroyed. Furthermore, a systematic policy of rape has maimed and humiliated scores of Darfurian women, while the government’s blockade of humanitarian aid to the displaced has left over three million in danger of starvation.

Read more!

Additional links to sites detailing the situation in the Durfur region.
Sudan Genocide Info
Durfur: A Genocide We Can Stop
Genocide in Sudan

Warren Buffett plays dumb on Darfur

Warren Buffett's investment holding company, Berkshire-Hathaway, owns a chunk of the Chinese oil company PetroChina. PetroChina is a subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned oil company, CNPC. CNPC has a 40 percent stake in a Sudanese oil venture.

The ongoing horror of genocide in Sudan has inspired a divestment campaign that is apparently generating some genuine heat on Berkshire and Buffett. On Wednesday, Berkshire took the unprecedented step of responding to critics by posting a defense of its PetroChina investment on the Berkshire Web site. The Berkshire argument can be summed up simply: PetroChina is a domestic Chinese oil company and is not directly involved in the Sudan. And even it was, divestment wouldn't make any difference, anyway.

Whether divesting from PetroChina would influence the actions of Sudan's rulers is a question that can be debated. But Berkshire's assertion that PetroChina is untainted by its parent company's actions is suspect.

Read more on UC divestment.

Judge voids Illinois law barring Sudan investment
By Andrew Stern

CHICAGO (Reuters) - An Illinois law barring state-backed investments in non-U.S. companies doing business in Sudan to protest genocide in the Durfur region was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge on Friday.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly could impact similar laws enacted in the past year in at least eight other U.S. states and proposals being considered by several other state legislatures.

Illinois, in 2005, was the first state to pass such a law concerning Sudan, but all in some way are designed to mirror the disinvestment campaign against South Africa during the apartheid era.

The ruling "means pension funds won't have to sell assets" in order to comply with Illinois' law, said William Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, a trade group representing international companies that filed a federal lawsuit last year against the Illinois law.

No comments: