Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Template Letter for Divestment Inquiry 



Dear Chief Financial Officer
(or Chair of Investor Responsibility Committee)
Xyz College/University


I/we write to inquire whether the endowment of Xyz college/university
has equity holdings in any of the Asian and European companies that are
presently operating in Sudan (current comprehensive US trade and
economic sanctions against Khartoum prevent American companies from
operating in Sudan). I/we are especially interested in any holdings,
active or passive, in the following five companies, notable for their
particular complicity in supporting the Government of Sudan (all list on
the New York Stock Exchange):

PetroChina (China)
Siemens AG (Germany)
Alcatel SA (France)
ABB Ltd. (Switzerland)
Tatneft (Russia)

Descriptions of the Sudan-related business and commercial activities of
these companies can be found at www.divestsudan.org.

The companies have deliberately chosen to provide essential economic
support to a regime currently engaged in massive genocidal destruction
in the Darfur region of western Sudan, a genocide that has been
recognized as such by the US Congress in a unanimous, bipartisan,
bicameral resolution of July 2004. The US State Department has also
made a formal genocide determination, declaring that the actions of the
Khartoum regime and its brutal Janjaweed militia allies in Darfur
constitute the ultimate human crime (September 2004). A genocide
finding has also been made by numerous genocide scholars, the Parliament
of the European Union (by a vote of 566 to 5 in September 2004), the
German government, the Committee on Conscience of the Holocaust Memorial
Museum, Yad Vashem (Jerusalem), the US Committee for Refugees,
Physicians for Human Rights, Africa Action, Justice Africa (UK), and
many others.

It is intolerable that US investment capital is currently flowing to
companies working directly with the National Islamic Front regime in
Khartoum, a regime that came to power by military coup in 1989, deposing
an elected government, and aborting Sudan's most promising peace process
since independence in 1956. This same regime has been guilty of
previous genocides in the Nuba Mountains and the oil regions of southern

The time has come for students, faculty, and administrators in American
institutions of higher learning to make it impossible for this
intransigently genocidal regime to enjoy the benefits of US capital
investment in morally irresponsible European and Asian commercial
activities in Sudan. Either these companies immediately suspend all
commercial, financial, and economic activities in Sudan---pending the
halting of genocide in Darfur and the completion of a north/south peace
agreement---or they should face unsustainable pressure in the US capital

Divestment from the equity (shares) of transnational companies
complicit in genocide is a moral imperative for Xyz college/university.
We fully intend to see that our institution's investment policies are
guided by this moral imperative.


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