Since the spring of 2006, Belgium is the first land to introduce a ban on cluster munitions. Despite this, the bank groups AXA, Dexia, Fortis and ING invest in cluster munitions. This has been revealed on the 14 of September in a new report ‘Explosive portfolios’ published by Netwerk Vlaanderen. Although pressure from the campaign ‘My Money. Clear Conscience?’ forced four bank groups to announce their withdraw from investments in cluster munitions, it is apparent that only KBC has completely ended its investments. Meanwhile this summer Israeli use of cluster munitions in Lebanon has been the starting shot for a new humanitarian disaster.
Netwerk Vlaanderen has researched the financial links between five bank groups (AXA, Dexia, Fortis, ING and KBC) and thirteen producers of cluster munitions. The report reveals that these banks invest more than six billion dollars in these companies. The French company Thales, the US company Raytheon, the Korean Poongsan, and the European EADS are examples of companies that are involved in cluster munitions.
The report shows that the defence policy of Dexia, Fortis and ING is not satisfactory. These three companies announced in 2005 that they would end their direct investments in, and financing of, cluster munitions. Their investment funds, including some available in Belgium, allow their customers to continue investing in these weapons. Despite the new policies, the investments of Fortis and ING in some cluster munitions producers have even increased.
For more information: http://www.netwerkvlaanderen.be/en/