State leaders ask PERS to drop investments in Sudan |

State leaders ask PERS to drop investments in Sudan

Appeal Capitol Bureau

Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons, Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley and Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio have asked the Public Employees Retirement System to get rid of stock in companies which provide economic support to the government of Sudan.

Gibbons said American companies are prohibited from operating in Sudan because of the genocide conducted by that company’s government in the Darfur region. He said he supported that ban while in Congress.

But PERS has $54 million invested with the French company Schlumberger, $3 million with Rolls Royce, $1.1 million with Alstom and $214,000 in Lundin Petroleum. Rolls Royce has since pulled out of Sudan, citing pressure from various groups around the world to stop supporting the Sudanese government. Schlumberger has also changed its tune, taking instead a humanitarian role in the region.

“These economic benefits helped fund the very militias responsible for the rape, torture, murder and mayhem in the Darfur region. Without question, these economic benefits help fund the genocide in Africa, which is why the United States government prohibits U.S. companies from operating in the Sudan,” the letter says.

Noting that those investments make up less than one-quarter percent of the PERS portfolio, the three urged PERS to pull the $1.5 million remaining in Alstom and Lundin from those companies and avoid making any other investments in what those trying to stop the genocide in Sudan describe as “worst offender” companies.

“We strongly urge Nevada PERS to do its part in ending the atrocities in the Sudan,” the letter concludes.