Senator Robach Announces Passage Of Legislation To Prohibit Investments That Support Genocide In Darfur

 

“I was proud to introduce this legislation in the State Senate and prouder still to cast my vote in favor of its passage,” stated Senator Robach. “The inhumane and horrific treatment of the citizens of Darfur must end and this is just one opportunity to help make that happen. As increasing efforts like this occur across the United States, I am hopeful that together they will have the impact needed to stop this senseless violence.”

The atrocities in Darfur, the Southern region of Sudan, have resulted in estimated civilian deaths ranging from 50,000 to 200,000. Hundreds of thousands of people have been injured or maimed, nearly 1.5 million people are displaced, and the population is afflicted with famine and malnutrition. The Sudanese government arms and collaborates with a violent militia group, known as the Janjaweed, to conduct attacks against civilians. Countless lives have been ruined from systematic rape, wholesale destruction of vital living resources, malnutrition and appalling conditions in refugee camps.

The bill that passed in the Senate would amend the retirement and social security law, in relation to the investment of public pension funds in companies doing business in Sudan and would allow the New York State Comptroller and all state governmental entities to cease certain investments of public moneys in companies, corporations or other business entities which are conducting business or maintaining commercial ties with the government of Sudan or its governmental subdivisions.

“The atrocities in Sudan necessitate attention from our entire country, and New York State must do its part in stopping the genocide in Darfur” stated Senator Robach. He continued “New York needs to prevent the investment of pension funds in companies that conduct business in Sudan. As the Chair of the Civil Service and Pensions Committee, I know that the divestment of these funds will be an effective and morally responsible strategy to helping to stop genocide and terrorism” said Senator Robach.

Using a fiscal strategy to respond to moral conflicts is not an unprecedented proposition for the legislature. The New York State legislature responsibly employed the MacBride Principles as a ‘code of conduct’ for companies doing business in Northern Ireland to combat employment discrimination and ease tensions in the region. Divestment at the state and municipal level, including 28 states and 92 cities, was also one of the most effective methods for ending Apartheid in South Africa.

Darfur region, by giving the Comptroller the option to divest from companies that are doing business in the Sudan.

The bill was delivered to the State Assembly for consideration.