Yale University Dumping Oil Investments Linked to Sudan

Yale University Dumping Oil Investments Linked to Sudan

NEW HAVEN, Conn.

      Yale University is selling off its oil stocks linked to the African nation of Sudan because the country has been accused of genocide.

      “The time-honored principles that Yale observes as an ethical institutional investor have guided us to take this strong action,” Yale President Richard Levin said while announcing the move.

      He added that he did not know the value of the stock, calling it “a small piece of a large fund.”

      The United States and international humanitarian groups have accused the Sudanese government of using its oil wealth to wage genocide against the people in the western Darfur region.

      Levin said the university had stock in one of seven oil companies that it determined were providing “the lion’s share of the revenue to the Sudanese government.”

      He did not identify the company or the value of Yale’s holdings. A Chinese-led consortium dominates the oil industry in Sudan.

      Levin said the companies are presumed to be committing “grave social injury” by providing financial assistance to the perpetrators of genocide.

      He said the school would not invest in any of the seven companies, which he identified as: Bentini SPA, an Italian construction company that builds pumping stations; Higleig Petroleum Services and Investment Co. Ltd., a Sudanese company; Hi-Tech Petroleum, a Sudanese company; Nam Fatt Corp., a Malaysian construction firm that builds pumping stations; Oil and Natural Gas Corp., of India; PetroChina Co. Ltd.; and the China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation.

      The Yale Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility, with help from Yale Law School’s international human rights clinic, recommended the move, and Yale Corporation voted at a recent meeting last week to divest.

      Last year, Harvard University, after months of pressure from student activists, said it would sell an estimated $4.4 million stake in PetroChina, a subsidiary of China’s top oil and gas producer, China National Petroleum Co., because of its ties to the Sudanese government. PetroChina has invested more than $1 billion in a joint venture with Sudan to increase that country’s oil revenues.

      Decades of low-level tribal clashes over land and water in Sudan’s western Darfur region erupted into large-scale violence in early 2003 when ethnic African tribes took up arms, accusing the Arab-dominated central government of neglect. The Sudanese government is accused of responding by unleashing Arab tribal militias known as Janjaweed to murder and rape civilians and lay waste to villages. The government denies the charge.

      An estimated 180,000 people have died in the conflict — many from hunger and disease — and about 2 million others have been displaced.

— Associated Press



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