Sudan issue comes home

In remarks to the national convention in Las Vegas of a group called 100 Black Men of America, Gov. Jim Gibbons called on Nevada’s Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) to unload its investments in companies that may support genocide.

“The divestment effort has been a bipartisan effort across the country, our participation in divestment will add to the momentum and, ultimately, help end the genocide in Darfur,” Gibbons said.

Among such companies, PERS $54 million invested in the French company Schlumberger, $3 million in Rolls Royce, $1.1 million in Alstom, and $214,000 in Lundin Petroleum, though Rolls has withdrawn from Sudan.

“These economic benefits helped fund the very militias responsible for the rape, torture, murder and mayhem in the Darfur region,” Gibbons said. “Without question, these economic benefits help fund the genocide in Africa.”

100 Men chair Albert Dotson issued a statement saying, “We welcome the call by Governor Gibbons to divest Nevada’s public funds from those companies that are known to be the worst offenders for their economic support of the ruling government of Sudan. The 100 Black Men of America encourages other states to do the same and for Governor Gibbons and others to continue to advocate for the end of this unspeakable tragedy.”

PERS officials declined comment, but during and after Nevada’s lawsuit against the tobacco companies, they said they that were required by law to consider only the financial soundness of investments and not their social implications, so they could not unload their tobacco stocks.