Campaigning against arms trade in the Netherlands

Report on Dutch arms trade and policy 2009 for ENAAT meeting Barcelona

Also read the research report Analysis of Dutch arms trade 2008

Pension funds campaign
Over the last two years the Campaign Against Arms Trade has been campaigning against the investments of pension funds in the arms industry. Dutch pension funds are big investors: together they are responsible for about 800 miljard Euro. Part of this money goes to investments in the arms industry. For example in the production of Hellfire missiles by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, in development of new nuclear weapons by Lockheed Martin and BAe, and also in cluster munition.
The Campaign Against Arms Trade has developed a research-based online database in which everyone can search for his or her pension fund and check its military investments. The database gives information about what is produced and to whom it is sold, and also about the developments in ethic investment policies in the different pension funds. Several pension funds have ‘de-militarized’ their portfolio’s completely and are still making profit. So for profit reasons there is no need to stay in the arms industry; there are enough alternatives. Other pension funds see no objection in arms production. The Campaign Against Arms Trade argues that because people cannot choose their own pension fund (in The Netherlands this is done by the employer) controversial investments should be left out, so people can feel comfortable and do not have to profit from war production in their old age. A petition is started to ask pension funds to disinvest in landmines, cluster munition and nuclear weapons, and also in industries that have more than 5% arms production. On may 11 we visited the Annual Meeting of the branch organisation of pension funds to deliver the petition. We were accompanied by the Dutch Raging Grannies Choir which had composed several new songs for the occasion.
 
Israel
During the Gaza war we started a web page to collect all available info about actual arms transfers to Israel. Together with Vredesctie we investigated the transfers of arms from the US to Israel through our airports. We raised questions about these transfers in Parliament. The Dutch government promised to publish all information on arms transit permits on the website of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. A very good transparency policy, apart from the fact that these figures appear with such delay that it is politically useless. Therefore we were not able to proof to the media that our main airport Schiphol has been used as a big arms transit airport by the Americans.
We are actively participating in a mailing list set up by StopTheWallCoalition in Israel on arms trade to and from Israel and on military cooperation.
 
Arms trade and development
In cooperation with the Evert Vermeer Stichting, the development knowledge organisation of the Social Democrat Party we organised a public debate and an expert meeting on arms trade to developing countries.
 
Publications
 
From Venus to Mars,a report about the growing militarisation of the European space program which received much media attention. Available in English.
 
Wapenmakelaars en tussenhandelaars, a report on brokering and the Dutch law.
 
Analysis of Dutch Arms Exports 2007, an English translation of our yearly analysis of government export figures.
 
Pensioenfondsen in de Wapenindustrie - een tussenstand Updatye of last years research on pension funds and their military investments and ethical policy. On behalf of regular updated online database on pension funds and arms industry.
 
Research dossier on the Joint Strike Fighter, the fighter jet with the eternal rising price that our government wants to buy. In parliament and public opinion the extreme costs of this plane are the main subject of opposition. We try to add arguments on the unwanted strategic tasks for these planes (first strike tasks in offensive out-of-aera war and nuclear tasks).
 
Factsheets
Dutch frigates for Morocco
Licence production
Arms export and sustainable economic growth in development countries.