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Oregon Human Rights and Anti-Genocide Act of 2005


On Friday I testified before the Senate Rules Committee in support of Senate Bill 1089, which would divest all public financial holdings in corporations operating in the Sudan and prohibit public financial investment or ties with the Republic of the Sudan.

In the 1980s, millions of Americans succeeded in accomplishing a singular achievement—ending South Africa’s apartheid regime. The divestiture campaign taught Americans a valuable lesson about the influence of public investments, and brought national attention to the South African situation. It is now time to focus financial pressure on the Republic of Sudan.

The Sudanese government is waging a genocidal war against its own citizens. They silence dissent, women and girls are being raped, villages are burned. It’s all taking place because of the oil under their land. It is time for Oregon to say, ‘No more.’ We will not invest our money in companies that do business with the government of Sudan.

The state’s Public Employee Retirement System holdings totaled $46.6 billion, as of March 31. Sudan-related investments comprise an estimated 1.5 percent of the state’s portfolio. The reallocation of a small percentage of the state’s funds will have little if any impact on the state of Oregon, but it will have a major impact on the Khartoum government’s ability to wage genocide.

If the bill succeeds, Oregon will join a growing list of states that have begun to divest from Sudan. Louisiana and Illinois have enacted divestiture laws, and legislation is awaiting the signature of New Jersey’s governor. Bills have been introduced in 10 other states: Arizona, California, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Vermont.

As a chief sponsor of the bill I was grateful when the committee sent the bill with a unanimous “do pass” recommendation to the Senate floor.

The bill has broad bipartisan support, including 39 other state legislators. Oregon US Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Darlene Hooley also support the bill, as does Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon.

I want to thank the other chief sponsors of the bill - Senator Avel Gordly (D-Portland), Senator Margaret Carter (D-Portland), Senator Ben Westlund (R-Tumalo), and Representative Brian Boquist (R-Dallas).

July 6, 2005 by Peter Buckley
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How much does Oregon have invested in Sudan?

Posted by: Tamar Boussi | Aug 23, 2005 1:29:15 PM

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