Is your bank funding cluster bombs?

One third of all recorded cluster bomb casualties are children. Yet despite efforts to ban these indiscriminate weapons, 138 banks and other financial institutions continue to invest over US$20 billion in companies that produce them.

Cluster bombs are large explosive weapons that scatter dozens or hundreds of smaller submunitions over a wide area. They cannot distinguish between military targets and civilians. Many submunitions fail to detonate on impact and, like landmines, continue to kill and maim people long after the conflict has ended.

The good

The global campaign to eradicate cluster bombs, spearheaded by the Cluster Munitions Coalition, reached a major breakthrough in 2008 when governments negotiated an international treaty to ban them. So far, 103 countries have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions, including the UK.

The bad

Although the UK government has signed the ban and stopped production of cluster bombs, UK banks still invest in cluster bomb producers in countries that have not yet outlawed them. A ban simply can’t be effective if there is still funding for the production of these weapons.

The downright ugly

A recent report* finds that UK high street banks are lending or providing investment banking services to cluster bomb producers to the tune of:

– Barclays: US$274 million
– HSBC: US$657 million
– Royal Bank of Scotland (includes NatWest): US$64 million

That could be YOUR cash. And if there’s one thing banks can’t do without, it’s customers: tell your bank to stop this shameful practice once and for all. If you’re not a customer of these banks you can still contact them to let them know that you find their investment in producers of cluster bombs totally unacceptable.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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