Divesting from Sudan

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Major unions are continuing to divest pensions from the Sudan in an effort to pressure the Sudanese government to halt the current campaign of slaughter, rape, starvation and displacement in Darfur.

Calpers, the nation’s second-largest public pension fund, is the latest organization to begin unloading investments in the region. The board unanimously decided that none of the fund’s $141 billion in assets will be distributed to stock holdings in foreign firms that profit from the oil rich Sudan. Their strategy for divestment will be modeled after that proposed by the University of California, which on March 16 unanimously approved a plan to get rid of both their direct and indirect holdings.

Several states and universities are withdrawing their investments in an effort to send a strong message to Sudan. Institutions vary widely on the type of companies they are targeting and the type of investments to be divested. The best way to distinguish between the various approaches is by reading the Sudan Divestment Taskforce’s, State of Divestment Report.

New Jersey, Illinois and Oregon have already approved divestment plans, and there is pending divestment legislation in Massachusetts, Ohio, New York, North Carolina, Indiana, Texas and Vermont. In addition to the UC system, Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth, Amherst, Brown, Brandeis, Columbia and Emory are all currently shedding financial ties to the region. Currently, there isn’t a comprehensive list of foreign corporations operating in the Sudan. However, the “dirty dozen” are listed here.

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