PAX, a peace organization based in the Netherlands, has released a “Hall of Shame” report that is truly damning for many financial institutions—the list details over 150 of these institutions that have invested $28 billion in cluster bomb production.
Cluster bombs are essentially weapons that can launch dozens of smaller explosives across large areas and have been used to kill thousands of civilians in countries such as Syria and Yemen. According to The Guardian, “Cluster bombs are banned under international law by the Convention on Cluster Munitions, a 2008 Oslo treaty which was signed by more than 100 countries.”
While America has not signed the treaty (along with China and South Korea), the fact that American banks—including commercial banks, investment banks, and pension funds—continue to fund the creation of these bombs is extremely troubling.
U.S. allies such as the U.K., France, and Canada have all signed the treaty, so it begs the question as to why the U.S. both abstained from doing so and why its institutions actively work against the treaty’s mandates.
The goal of the report is found in its title: It hopes to shame these banks out of continuing to have financial ties with cluster bomb companies, and has reportedly been “successful in persuading some countries to suspend their involvement in cluster munitions producers” in the past, according to The Guardian.
Suzanne Oosterwijk, the author of the PAX report, commented that, “It is an absolute outrage that financial institutions are investing billions into companies that produce weapons which are banned under international law.”
An ambassador for the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), an organization devoted to terminating the production of cluster munitions, accurately stated that, “Financial institutions must stop turning a blind eye to the lethal consequences of their investments.”
Financial intuitions don’t often consider any ethical consequences if they are reaping profits, but continuing to fund cluster bombing may be too morally ambiguous even for these financial giants.
Banner Image Credit: Reuters