Darfur Divestment Bill Would
of Permanent Fund, Other State Funds
January 10, 2008
(SitNews) - Representative Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, and Rep. Les
Gara, D-Anchorage, are prime co-sponsors of a bipartisan bill
that would require divestment of the Alaska Permanent Fund and
other state retirement funds from corporations that do business
with Sudan, and thereby support the continuing genocide in Darfur.
Corporations that provide food, clothing or consumer goods to
Sudan are excluded from the bill. So far, about 20 states have
passed similar legislation.
"If this genocide were occurring somewhere on the American
continent, or someplace in Europe," Lynn said, "would
we want to invest Alaska's money with corporations that do business
with the perpetrators? I don't think so. Genocide is genocide,
whether in Darfur, Africa, or anyplace else."
The United States Senate and House of Representatives, by a unanimous
vote on July 23, 2004, declared "that the atrocities unfolding
in Darfur, Sudan, are genocide," and the White House agrees.
"Alaskans wouldn't want their government to invest in genocide,"
said Gara. "Given the thousands of good companies we can
invest in, taking a moral stand against the unconscionable won't
cost the Permanent Fund a dime."
The proposed legislation would be repealed when the President
or the Congress declares the Darfur genocide has been halted,
or if the legislation interferes with United States foreign policy.
Last week, President Bush signed a bill passed unanimously by
Congress, which paves the way for states and companies to divest
from Sudan and from businesses profiting in Sudan. Like the federal
legislation, Lynn and Gara's bill is expected to garner strong
bipartisan support. Sen. Hollis French, D-Anchorage, is introducing
similar legislation in the Senate.
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