Dutch banks ignore human rights in investments

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Dutch banks pay too  little attention to human rights when making investments. Banks including ABN Amro and ING have a stake in oil and mining companies and rarely speak about their human rights violations, revealed Amnesty International and Oxfam in their Fair Bank Guide Monday.

The guide investigated Dutch bank investments in oil giant Shell, British mining company Vedanta Resources and Canadian gold mining company Barrick Gold. 

Abuses Shell is held responsible for massive pollution of the Niger Delta. Vedanta Resources is involved in bauxite mining in India which has displaced indigenous Kondh natives. Barrick Gold operates the Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea, where police have forced hundreds from their homes and destroyed property. 

Few banks pressure companies to improve human rights or take offenses into account, says Amnesty International’s Eduard Nazarski. State bank ABN Amro did not comment on the issue. “Thus we assume that they also do it”, he says. ING and Aegon banks say their customers can raise the issue with them, but do not specify how and with what results.

Most responsible SNS Bank no longer invests with Barrick Gold and Vedanta Resources and they have begun intensive dialogue with Shell. ASN, Friesland Bank and Triodos score the highest on the Fair Bank Guide because they do not invest in any of the three companies due to their human rights affronts.

The Fair Bank Guide is based on the corporate social responsibility of banks and their obligations to uphold such codes.


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