News / Europe

Stop Funding Explosives, Activists Say

Activists and international delegations look at cluster bomb units during a visit to a Lebanese military base, Nabatiyeh, Lebanon, September 11, 2011.
Activists and international delegations look at cluster bomb units during a visit to a Lebanese military base, Nabatiyeh, Lebanon, September 11, 2011.
Selah Hennessy
LONDON - During the past three years, financial institutions around the world have invested more than $40 billion in producers of banned cluster munitions, according to a report published Thursday. The investors include Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and China Merchants Bank.

According to the research paper, 137 private and public institutions have been investing in manufacturing companies that produce cluster munitions.

Report co-author Roos Boer says making those investments is counterproductive.

"If you want to rid the world of cluster munitions, it makes no sense to continue to invest in those weapons," said Boer, a policy analyst for the Netherlands-based campaign group IKV Pax Christi, which published the report along with the Belgium-based group FairFin.

The global Convention on Cluster Munitions bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster bombs. More than 100 countries have signed on, but a number of manufacturers are known to still make the bombs, including a number of U.S.-based companies.

"For countries that did not sign the treaty, it is of course completely legal to produce them," said Boer. "For example, for U.S. companies, it is not prohibited at all to produce cluster munitions because the United States has not signed the treaty."

Laura Cheeseman, the director of the Cluster Munition Coalition in London, says the campaign to end investment and production of cluster munitions is vital because they kill indiscriminately.

"The cluster bombs and the explosive bomblets in particular do not always explode on impact so they lie active and deadly on the ground, acting almost like de-facto landmines," said Cheeseman. "And they can be lying on rooftops, hanging in the trees, months, even years after a conflict has ended. So even when the fighting ends, these weapons continue to inflict suffering on the civilian population."

But she says the tide appears to be turning. According to Thursday’s report, 56 financial institutions have disinvested from cluster munitions producers. And, says Cheeseman, countries are filling the loophole that has permitted investments.

"There are a number of countries, five countries, that have passed specific national legislation banning financing of cluster munitions production," she said. "But really we would like to see more countries. And there are around 20 countries that say they share this view that investment should be banned and what we would like to see is them moving forward and taking that extra step to legislate against it."

The countries that have brought in new legislation are Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and New Zealand.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid