Comic Relief’s arms trade investments
The BBC’s Panorama reports that in 2009 Comic Relief had £630,000 invested in shares in weapons firm BAE Systems. Comic Relief will not confirm how its money has been invested since 2009.
Sarah Waldron, a spokesperson for Campaign Against Arms Trade, said:
“It is unacceptable for Comic Relief to have invested millions of pounds in a company which profits from insecurity and human rights abuse. BAE’s weapons have been used against men, women and children around the world.
“There is no excuse for these investments, which are in direct contradiction to Comic Relief’s stated aims. The arms trade creates and exacerbates poverty and fuels conflict.
“Comic Relief needs to start being transparent about its investments. It owes it to its supporters to use all of their money for good.”
- Comic Relief work to alleviate poverty in Tanzania. In 2010, BAE were fined £30 million for selling an outdated military air traffic control system to Tanzania.
- BAE’s dodgy deals with South Africa had a devastating impact on South Africa’s young democracy. In a deal riddled with corruption, South Africa will eventually have spent over £8 billion on unnecessary weapons, at a time when millions of South Africans living with HIV and AIDS were denied access to lifesaving anti-retroviral medication.
- BAE sells weapons indiscriminately around the world. It has supplied many of the world’s most repressive regimes including Mubarak’s Egypt, where Comic Relief has a project working with the victims of conflict. It armed Gaddafi’s Libya and its Hawk jets and armoured vehicles were used in Indonesia’s brutal occupation of East Timor, in which 200,000 people were killed.
- BAE has a long and shameful history of arms trading with the repressive government of Saudi Arabia. In March 2011 Saudi Arabia used BAE vehicles to help suppress pro-democracy protests in Bahrain. It supplies and supports the Saudi air force which bombed civilians in Yemen in 2009, actions Amnesty warned may have amounted to war crimes.
For further information contact CAAT at email@example.com or call 020 7281 0297.
- BAE Systems is the world’s third largest arms producer. Its portfolio includes fighter aircraft, warships, tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery, missiles and small arms ammunition. It has military customers in over 100 countries and its weapons were used to suppress pro-democracy protests in Bahrain in March 2011. More information on BAE Systems and its history of corruption.
- Numerous charities and organisations with an ethical remit have eschewed investment in the arms trade. For example, the Church of England excludes any company which derives more than 10% of its income from military sales.
- Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works to end the international arms trade. The arms business has a devastating impact on human rights and society and damages economic development. Large-scale military procurement and arms exports only reinforce a militaristic approach to international problems. In 2012, CAAT was awarded a Right Livelihood Award – the “Alternative Nobel Prize” – for its “innovative and effective campaigning against the arms trade”.