Thousands urge Royal Bank of Scotland to stop investing in cluster bomb producing companies
More than 10,000 people across the UK have directly emailed the Chief Executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in just over a week demanding that RBS stops investing in companies that produce cluster bombs, said Amnesty International today (Friday 26) as it stepped up the pressure on British banks.
Supporters of Amnesty’s call have also already contributed more than half the funds needs to launch a hard hitting nationwide advertising campaign to encourage RBS to stop investing in cluster-bomb producing companies. Amnesty International UK Arms Campaign Manager, Verity Coyle said: “We’re encouraged by the overwhelming level of support so far seen from the British public on this issue. I’ve had phone calls from owners of small to medium-sized businesses asking how they can help. We’ve also received emails from people who have vowed to switch bank accounts, and we’re delighted with the level of support shown toward fundraising for the advert.” In March last year the UK passed a new law banning the production, use and trade of cluster bombs, yet just months after that ban, RBS, which is majority-owned by the UK government, recently agreed a US$80 million loan to Alliant Techsystems – a US company known to produce of cluster munitions and their components.
Research conducted by IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen in its report “ Worldwide investments in Cluster Munitions: a shared responsibility ” also found that Royal Bank of Scotland was one of the dealer managers involved in bonds issuance by Lockheed Martin, another US company known to produce cluster bombs, which issued a total of US41.5 billion in November 2009.
Public opinion strongly indicates that there is support for banks to stop investing in companies that produce illegal weapons. A recent nationwide YouGov poll commissioned by Amnesty found that nearly eight out of ten people across Britain (78%) said RBS should not be allowed to provide loans to cluster munitions producing companies. Verity Coyle continued: “People are clearly angry that banks could be allowed to fund companies that produce these illegal weapons. We hope that banks like RBS quickly recognise that their actions are not acceptable and that they take every action to stop investing in companies which produce cluster bombs.” The publicly-funded advert is planned to appear in national newspapers within the next two weeks. More information is found at www.amnesty.org.uk/clusterbomb . People are also encouraged to donate via SMS by texting BOMB11 TO 70700. Notes to the editor Further information about bank investments in companies which produce cluster munitions can be found at www.amnesty.org.uk/rbs /div>