Dutch investments in cluster bombs banned

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Majority of MPs supported a motion calling for Dutch banks and pension funds to withdraw investment in companies involved in making cluster bombs.

The Hague – Dutch banks and pension funds will no longer be allowed to invest in companies involved in making cluster bombs after a majority of the lower house supported a motion submitted by the Socialist Party and the Labour Party.

Socialist Party MP Krista van Velzen, who has been working on a ban on cluster bombs for many years, called the vote “a revolutionary step”.

According to Catholic peace organisation IKV Pax Christi, Fortis Netherlands, ING and Rabobank are all working towards withdrawing investments in companies which made cluster bombs while pension funds ABP and PGGM have ended all investments in this area.

Worldwide, there are 140 financial institutions throughout the world which invest in eight cluster bomb producers.

Cluster bombs consist of dozens, or even hundreds of bomblets which are distributed over a wide area. Some of the bomblets explode on impact, while others detonate upon contact like a land mine.
In May 2008, the Netherlands signed an international treaty to ban all cluster bombs.

A spokesperson for Pax Chrsiti called the vote “an enormous boost to the worldwide campaign against financial investment in cluster bombs.”

However, the move is opposed by Finance Minister Wouter Bos who preferred companies to act voluntarily.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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