Senate Approves Marcellino’s Sudan Divestment Bill

Carl L Marcellino

March 26, 2009


Senator Carl L. Marcellino today announced that legislation that he co-sponsored to divest from companies in Sudan that support the Sudanese Government has unanimously passed the Senate.

"New York State should not support the ongoing violence and lawlessness in the Darfur region, we have a moral obligation to serve as a voice for those who have no one to speak for them. This legislation would make sure that NYS taxpayer dollars do not go to support this on going genocide," said Senator Marcellino

The legislation (S5287) requires the New York State Comptroller and all state governmental entities to cease certain investments of public moneys in companies, corporations or other business entities that are conducting business or maintaining commercial ties with the government of Sudan. Twelve states have already passed legislation divesting from Sudan.

Since February of 2003, an estimated 400,000 people have died in this region at the hands of a government-sponsored campaign of violence and starvation perpetrated by the Janjaweed militia. Darfur has been described as "genocide by famine". Thousands have died not by bullets but by a concerted campaign of starvation. People are forced from their farms and villages into refugee camps where they are unable to sustain themselves and disease is rampant. The government of Sudan then interferes with the delivery of humanitarian aid, leaving millions of men, women and children without enough to eat.

"Just because we’re a State government on the other side of the world does not mean that there’s nothing we can do to support these victims," said Senator Marcellino. "In fact, if we don’t, we bear some of the responsibility for these horrendous atrocities ourselves, because we are then unwillingly helping to fund it."

The legislation allows the Comptroller to decide which companies should not be invested in because of its association with Sudan and its government. The Comptroller would then report back to the Senate Civil Service and Pension committee within a year to report on the progress of the new law.

The bill was sent to the Assembly were it is sponsored by Assemblymembers Towns and Brennan.