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A bill which would require Minnesota's State Investment Board to sell stock in companies that support the genocidal government of Sudan moved one step closer to becoming law today after the House Government Operations, Reform, Technology and Elections Committee unanimously passed SF 1075 on a voice vote.
State Rep. Karen Clark (DFL-Minneapolis), who authored the divestment bill in the House, said passage of the bill will send a strong message to the government of Sudan and the global community.
"More than 400,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million have been displaced in Sudan's western Darfur region since 2003 and our own government has described the massacres as genocide," Clark said. "The Sudanese government is only able to carry out this genocidal campaign against its non-Arab citizens because of the financial support it receives from foreign companies, particularly those operating in the oil sector. By pressuring the companies that subsidize genocide, we can help bring an end to these atrocities."
Clark said the bill targets companies that support the Sudanese government's genocidal campaign in Darfur, specifically companies in oil-related ventures or that produce military equipment. It exempts from divestment companies involved in "social development areas," such as medicine, education and agriculture.
Clark said that 11 other states have already enacted divestment legislation and that the measure is being considered in another 17 states.
"It's important that we add Minnesota's voice to this effort," Clark said. "It's important to remember that it was this kind of financial pressure that finally forced South Africa to open up its government and end apartheid."
SF 1075 passed the Senate on a unanimous voice vote. Clark said she expects the entire House to vote on the bill before the end of session.
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