For Immediate Release
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) applauds the first steps taken on March 19, 2008, to ensure that the savings of ordinary American investors become genocide-free. Shareholders in two Fidelity Investment funds, Capital & Income Fund and Select Health Care Portfolio, voted on a proposal to prevent the funds from doing business with companies linked to genocide. While the resolutions were not approved (they received 27 and 28% of the vote, respectively), PHR believes that there is growing desire on the part of shareholders to ensure that their investments do not fund genocide.
"Today's vote was an historic event," said PHR's Deputy Director, Susannah Sirkin, who was present at today's shareholder meeting. "Fidelity was forced to hear the voice of ordinary investors who are refusing to allow their money to subsidize mass killing. Fidelity is now being pushed to defend its investments in companies doing business with genocidal regimes."
Only two of the twelve funds voted on the resolution, which called for boards of the funds to "screen out investments in companies that, in the judgment of the board, substantially contribute to genocide, patterns of extraordinary and egregious violations of human rights, or crimes against humanity." Voting was postponed until April 16th and May 14th on ten of the funds because a majority of shareholders had not yet voted. PHR believes that the delay will work in favor of the resolution.
Fidelity and other mutual fund companies are invested in companies that do business with the Government of Sudan. The United States Government has accused that regime of perpetrating genocide against its own civilians in the Darfur region. Between 200,000 and 400,000 civilians have died since fighting began there in 2003.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.