End investment in banned and controversial weapons

2 July 2009

End investment in banned and controversial weapons

Krista van VelzenThe SP is seeking clarification from Finance Minister and Labour Party leader Wouter Bos regarding the government's attitude to investments by major Dutch bank ING in controversial weapons. “It's time to ban such investments," says SP Member of Parliament Krista van Velzen. “Clearly we can't leave this to the bankers' own consciences."

An investigation commissioned by Dutch Oxfam International affiliate Oxfam Novib and national trade union federation the FNV has revealed that people's savings continue to be invested in firms which manufacture cluster bombs and weapons of mass destruction and which sell such arms to repressive regimes. “Shameful," says Van Velzen, who has been confronting Dutch banks with the facts of their dubious investments for some years. “The banks' customers are certainly not in favour of their savings being used to produce such things as land mines or cluster bombs," she adds. "Certainly now so much taxpayers' money has been handed over to the banks, Wouter Bos should ban these kind of investments. This has already happened in Belgium, so he can't claim that it can't be done.”

After experiencing severe problems as a result of the credit crisis, ING has received billions of euros in state aids. It is, moreover, not the only Dutch bank which invests in firms involved in the production of controversial weapons such as cluster bombs. Aegon, Rabobank, Robeco, SNS Bank and SNS Regio Bank are also cited in the report.

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