Denmark’s 16 pension funds have together invested almost 3 billion Danish kroner ($500 million) in foreign arms manufacturers supplying weapons to countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), finds a new research.
Those weapons were most likely used in the war in Yemen, as Saudi Arabia and the UAE are heavily involved in the conflict there, said the report.
It has accused the pension funds of “profiteering.”
Oxfam IBIS secretary general, Kristian Weise, said it is “completely unacceptable” and many pension customers will be “shocked” to discover that their pension savings are being used to keep the “world’s worst war alive”.
He highlighted that the war and the accompanying humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen will only be kept alive as long as the flow of weapons to the warring parties continues.
He said that Danish pension funds play a role in this by investing in the companies that produce weapons or parts of weapons.
“In Oxfam IBIS ‘opinion, these arms deliveries should be stopped immediately. To that extent, the Danish pension funds have an ethical and moral responsibility that they should take on,” Weise said.
Oxfam IBIS explained that two years ago, the then Danish government put an end to all Danish exports of weapons and military equipment to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, among other things under pressure from Oxfam IBIS members and supporters. But it said pension funds still have money invested in companies that make money from the war.
“Despite the fact that there is a political desire in Denmark that we should not in any way contribute to keeping the war in Yemen alive, we are still part of it through our pension funds. That simply cannot be right. And it is only fair that the pension companies stop investing,” Weise added.
The UN has called the situation in Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian disaster with 80 per cent of the population in urgent need of emergency assistance, and every 10 minutes a child loses their life as a result of the war, Oxfam IBIS said.
Oxfam has been working in Yemen since 1983, and the organization has never seen a worse crisis in the country than the one that is unfolding right now.
“We expect the pension funds, on behalf of their members and customers, to ask themselves whether it is worth the returns to contribute to this disaster – and the answer must of course be a resounding no. Danes’ money should be invested more ethically and sustainably,” Weisse concluded.
One of the 21 companies that received Danish pension fund money is U.S. missile manufacturer Raytheon.
The fund that gave the money said it did not invest in companies that produce so-called unconventional weapons, such as landmines and cluster munitions. Nevertheless, it assured that it “follows the situation in Yemen very closely.”
Nearly 230,000 people have died since 2015 as a result of the war in Yemen between the Saudi-led coalition and the local Houthi rebel movement. It is estimated that 80 percent of Yemen’s 28 million population requires desperate emergency aid.