Minnesota Divestment

St. Paul, MN 5/23/2007– On Wednesday May 23, Governor Tim Pawlenty signed Senate File 1075, a targeted divestment bill which will divest Minnesota’s State Board of Investment from companies that support the genocidal government of Sudan. Upon signing the Governor stated, “Minnesotans can be proud that we are taking action to help cut off the flow of money to Sudan’s military. We’re doing our part to stop the crimes and inhumanities in Darfur.” A silent genocide rages on in the Darfur region of Africa’s largest country, Sudan, where the government has attempted to eliminate its non-Arab population. For the first time in history, the US government has declared what is transpiring in Darfur a genocide while the massacres are still ongoing. To date, over 400,000 have been killed and over 2.5 million have been displaced. Recently, former UN Undersecretary Jan Egeland stated, “It’s going from real bad to catastrophic in Darfur.” Divestment proves effective in ending the genocide because the government of Sudan relies heavily on foreign investment to fund its military and because of Sudan’s historic responsiveness to economic pressure. Senate File 1075, which takes a targeted approach to divestment, seeks to maximize the impact of divestment on the Sudanese government while minimizing potential harm to both innocent Sudanese civilians and investment returns. “This is not just a symbolic gesture. Targeted divestment from Sudan is the most effective tool we have to stop the first genocide of the 21st Century” said Senator Sandra Pappas, primary sponsor of divestment legislation in the Senate. “The Sudanese government is only able to carry out this genocidal campaign because of the financial support it receives from foreign companies, particularly those operating in the oil sector,” said Representative Karen Clark, primary sponsor of the divestment legislation in the House. “By pressuring the companies that subsidize genocide, we can bring an end to these atrocities.” Minnesota has become the thirteenth state to divest from Sudan. Over additional fifteen other states are currently considering targeted divestment policies.