illegal arms financed by British banks

A little over two months ago, I posted an article about a loophole within current international regulations that bans the production and use of cluster bombs, but still permits investment in their production.

A report from Spanish NGO SETEM had exposed 14 Spanish banks, including, most prominently, the giants BBVA and Santander, that invested in companies involved in the manufacture of “controversal weapons”.

Amnesty International are now exposing UK-based banks that also continue to invest in these companies. The following is their latest campaign letter:

Cluster bombs kill and maim indiscriminately – 98 per cent of victims are civilians and a third of those are children. This is why over 100 countries – including the UK – have signed up to an international treaty banning their manufacture and use.

Yet over a year after this treaty came into force, and despite the fact that cluster bombs are now banned in the UK, some UK-based banks continue to invest in companies which make them.

Stop investment in companies that make cluster bombs

The worst of these is the Royal Bank of Scotland – which, don’t forget, is now over 80 per cent owned by UK taxpayers. RBS is known to have invested $80 million in companies which manufacture cluster bombs in the past year1.

Take action: email the Chief Executive of RBS now

Cluster bombs can remain deadly for years, much like landmines. So civilians in places like Georgia, Kosovo, Lebanon and Laos are at risk long after the fighting has ended. As a member of the global Cluster Munition Coalition2, we’re working to end the suffering cluster bombs cause. But we need organisations like RBS to take responsibility for the part they play.

Should a taxpayer-funded bank be investing in companies making weapons which are banned by this country? Should any bank invest in companies which make these appalling weapons?

If you think not, please take action now

Thank you,

Olly Sprague signature

Olly Sprague
Arms Campaigner

1. Worldwide investment in Cluster Munitions: a shared responsibility – May 2011 update [IKV Pax Christi (the Netherlands) and Netwerk Vlaanderen (Belgium)]

2. The Cluster Munition Coalition is an international civil society campaign working to eradicate cluster munitions, prevent further casualties from these weapons and put an end for all time to the suffering they cause. The Coalition works through its members in around 100 countries to change the policy and practice of governments and organisations towards these aims and raise awareness of the problem amongst the public.

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