17th State Passes Targeted Divestment Legislation

AJWS President Ruth Messinger Applauds Efforts by Texas and Hawaii to Stop Flow of Funds Supporting Genocide in Darfur

NEW YORK, June 21, 2007 – This week Texas and Hawaii become the sixteenth and seventeenth states, respectively, to pass legislation ensuring that state pension fund investments are withdrawn from corporations that support the Sudanese government and fund its genocidal campaign in Darfur.

“American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the first national Jewish organization to endorse targeted divestment from Sudan, applauds the legislatures and governors of Texas and Hawaii for passing targeted divestment laws,” said Ruth Messinger, president of AJWS.

Over the past four years, attacks by government-supported forces have resulted in widespread murder, rape, kidnapping and forced displacement of people from their homes and villages in Darfur. More than 400,000 Darfuris have died and more than two million people are living in IDP and refugee camps.

“Recognizing the horror of what is happening in Darfur, many states, including now Texas and Hawaii, have passed legislation supporting targeted divestment, an absolutely critical strategy for stopping the flow of money that funds the genocide,” stated Messinger.

The targeted divestment strategy protects health, agricultural, social and humanitarian services, while reducing Sudan’s access to funds that support the military and the Janjaweed militia. AJWS works with groups across the country on the expanding divestment movement.

“The growing movement of state governments to support divestment makes it clear that Americans are increasingly active against this genocide,” said Messinger. “Now, 17 states are critical partners in the effort to end the crimes against humanity happening before our very eyes.”

In addition to supporting targeted divestment campaigns across the United States, AJWS continues to call for a robust and fully resourced U.N. peacekeeping force to be deployed in Darfur, and urges President Bush to encourage the international community to apply pressure on the Sudanese government to stop killing its own people.

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