Financing Mass Murder

How free-market investors contribute to genocide in Darfur

| October 14, 2004

The regime has financed its killing and rape sprees in part through prodigious foreign investments from companies such as the China National Petroleum Corporation, Russia's Tatneft, Germany's Siemens AG, Switzerland's ABB Ltd., and France's Alcatel. Many of these companies deal in petroleum, so it's no surprise that China and Russia have both resisted placing effective sanctions on the Sudanese oil industry, which brings the Khartoum $2 billion in annual revenues. (Russia has also recently sold ten MiG-29 fighter planes to the Khartoum military). Since all of the aforementioned companies are listed on the New York Stock exchange, American investors are also helping themselves to a few drops of the blood money.This bit of dirty laundry is about to be aired in the light of day, however. A bipartisan bill has been introduced into the House of Representatives that would legally require disclosure of 'the identities of all entities that are engaged in commercial activity in Sudan,' and the spread of this information could well force the companies in question to divest their interests in the Sudan region under the threat of boycott. If the Khartoum regime were weakened and isolated by real multilateral economic pressure, peace in the area would be more easily attained.Regardless what happens in Sudan, much work remains to expose the various links between big business, oil, and human suffering. When companies forget their conscience in the quest for profit, it is our duty to remind them.
-- Brendan ThemesGo there >>Financing Mass MurderRelated Links:Related Links from the Utne Archive:Comments? Story tips? Write a letter to the editorLike this? Want more?Subscribe to Utne magazine