NAACP-Supported Sudan Divestment Bill Passes Congress Overwhelmingly
BILL SUPPORTS DIVESTMENT BY STATES, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND COMPANIES FROM CORPORATIONS DOING BUSINESS IN SUDAN; URGE PRESIDENT BUSH TO SIGN THE BILL INTO LAW NOW!
On December 18 and 19, the United States Senate and House of Representatives passed, both by overwhelming margins, S. 2271, the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007, legislation to promote economic divestment from Sudan. Under this bill, which will put pressure on the Sudanese government to stop the genocide in Darfur, companies would be barred from receiving federal contracts unless they certify they do not work with Sudan’s energy or military sectors. It would also allow asset funds and pension fund managers to divest from companies doing business in Sudan’s energy and military sectors and would protect them from lawsuits over profits lost as a result of the divestment. Finally, the legislation makes it clear that states have the right to divest.
Divestment is a proven tool in struggles against inhumane governments: Americans’ divestment was a major contributor to bringing down the racist apartheid regime in South Africa in the 1980’s, when people, municipalities (including the federal government) and corporations pulled billions of dollars out of that country rather than make money off of an immoral government that supported slavery.
According to recent estimates, at least 400,000 people have died in Darfur since the genocide began in February of 2003. It is impossible to know what the final number will be as the genocide is still taking place today. What is known is that there are approximately 3.5 million men, women and children in the western Darfur region of Sudan trying to survive the Sudanese government-permitted campaign of violence, rape, murder and forced starvation. These innocent victims are essentially on life support, their continued existence dependent on U.S. and international humanitarian aid and the presence of African Union peacekeepers. Despite the best efforts of the under-funded and under-manned African Union peacekeeping force, attacks have increased in recent months, leading to tens of thousands of new arrivals at refugee camps in Darfur and across the border in Chad.
The divestment legislation must now be signed by President Bush to become the law of the land. The NAACP urges everyone to contact the White House to urge the President to sign this vital legislation into law before the end of 2007.