Illinois Measure Bars Sudan Investments

July 26, 2005 ( - The state of Illinois is barred from conducting any business with companies operating in the Sudan because of continuing concerns over human rights abuses in that country.

The prohibition is contained in a state law that is aimed at pressuring the Sudanese government into ending policies of violence and displacement, said Illinois state Sen. Jacqueline Collins, one of the bill’s cosponsors, according to a United Press International report.

“Our humanity diminishes whenever we profit from the slaughter and suffering of others,” Collins said. “This legislation hits the Sudanese government where it counts, in the pocketbook.”

Two of Illinois’ five pension funds have been given 18 months to reinvest $1 billion placed with 32 companies with interests in Sudan.

According to the news report, federal law prohibits US companies from doing business with Sudan, and the Illinois law targets investments in foreign companies that conduct business in the country and forbids the state treasury from dealing with them.

Exempted from the bill are non-governmental organizations and businesses dealing in humanitarian aid.