Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today congratulated Fidelity Investments for joining the growing movement to sever financial ties to the government of Sudan, and urged others to join in the effort to cut off support for such ties as long as the genocide continues in Darfur.
Fidelity has announced that it is reducing by 91 percent its ties to a company doing business with the government of Sudan, PetroChina Co. The company is Asia’s biggest oil producer; its state-run parent, China National Petroleum Corp., has pipelines and oil reserves in Sudan.
“The Darfur divestment campaign has moved from campuses and state houses to the board room,” Lantos said. “With respect to the investments they make, the likes of Fidelity are cleaning up their act. But others, most prominently Berkshire Hathaway, are yet not as enlightened as they need to be. American investors are going to hold these companies accountable for the way they handle their funds. It is not enough to tell shareholders that you have turned a profit. Individuals want to know at what human cost this profit was made.”
Lantos is a cosponsor of the Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act (H.R. 180). This legislation requires the Securities and Exchange Commission to identify companies that conduct business operations in Sudan and prohibits United States government contracts with such companies.
“By passing this legislation, Congress will make a clear statement on behalf of the American people that we no longer will tolerate profit-making from genocide – not in our names or with our dollars,” Lantos said.
With Fidelity’s divestment move, Berkshire Hathaway is now believed to be the largest U.S. investor in PetroChina. The revenue that Sudan derives from doing business with major petroleum suppliers in China and elsewhere has been providing arms and funding for the genocide in Darfur. The brutality of the current conflict in Darfur has displaced more than two million people, forced an estimated 234,000 into refugee camps in Chad, and taken an estimated 450,000 lives.