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Thursday, December 8, 2016
Church investors speak out on Sudan investor responsibility
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¬†Following the recent Global Day of Action to mark the fifth anniversary of the Sudanese civil war, the ecumenical Church Investors Group (CIG) has condemned both the continued war and human rights abuses in the Sudan, and the direct or indirect part certain companies are playing in prolonging the conflict. CIG Chairman, John Cunningham, said: "Nothing is more important in this world than life, but in the Sudan we see that value challenged in a directly flagrant way. Churches are substantial investors, and as such wish to use any influence they might have to assist the oppressed and those whose lives are being de-humanised by the actions of people who are directly or indirectly supported by companies and governments which focus on immediate commercial gain. "In so doing such companies and governments appear to turn a blind eye to murder, rape and other atrocities committed in the pursuit of such gain. The Churches cannot be silent in the face of such a situation, but must raise their voices in the hope of advancing the cause of peace and justice." The CIG - * Deplores the current situation and urges all parties to embark on constructive engagement in the interest of human rights and the protection of the civilian population. * Welcomes the contribution made by the Sudan Divestment movement and its partners to increase investors' knowledge of the current situation in Sudan and the involvement in Sudan of listed companies. * Welcomes the emphasis on differentiating between companies either engaging in the supply of military equipment to the Sudanese government or the development of oil reserves which help fund the purchase of military equipment and those companies whose activities do not directly support the government. * Encourages companies operating in the region to adhere to the highest standards of corporate responsibility and to follow the recommendations set out by the Sudan Divestment Taskforce. * Encourages its members to reflect on their portfolios in the light of any involvement of invested companies in Sudan. Most companies with substantial operations in Sudan are based in the Far East and South East Asia. The most severe criticisms from the Sudan Divestment Taskforce are reserved for overseas state-controlled oil companies such as the China National Petroleum Company (CNPC), ONGC (India) and Petronas (Malaysia). Sunday 13 April was a 'global day of action' to mark the fifth anniversary of the Sudanese civil war. The mainstream Churches fully supported the Day for Darfur in demonstrating the strength of public feeling on the crisis in Darfur and to ensure continued high-level political engagement on the issue. The full position statement is available on-line at: www.churchinvestorsgroup.org.uk. The CIG represents most mainstream Church denominations and organisations in Britain and Ireland. It has 31 members with combined assets of around £12 billion. Each member has its own investment policy but members work together on issues of common concern.
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