UW System Caterpillar Corporation Divestment sign now

We, a local coalition of concerned groups and individuals, including members of the University of Wisconsin, residents of the City of Madison, and State of Wisconsin communities call on the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents to divest from Caterpillar Corporation until the company ceases all business dealings with the State of Israel insofar as those dealings contribute to or profit from the occupation of the Palestinian territories or any violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people as defined by the United Nations and Geneva Conventions. Specifically, we draw attention to the UN Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights which states that businesses have a legal responsibility to ensure that their activities do not contribute to or profit from said human rights violations. Additionally, Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention deems the extensive destruction and appropriation of property carried out unlawfully and wantonly as a war crime.

Caterpillars role in the ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories has garnered nearly universal condemnation from the international community. Caterpillar is currently the principle supplier of bulldozers to Israel. Israeli Defense Forces have purchased the D-9 or D-11 bulldozer from Caterpillar and have used them for the demolition of Palestinian homes, uprooting of countless olive trees and other agriculture, and the ruin of roads, making them impassable. According to the Jerusalem Center for Women, more than 18,000 home demolitions have taken place since 1967, leaving more than 100,000 Palestinian civilians without shelter.

With this overwhelming evidence, any investments associated with Caterpillar Corporation subvert the implementation of norms of international humanitarian law and stand in glaring violation of University of Wisconsin System Regent Trust and Fund Policy 78-1, which provides that in accordance with Sec. 36.29(1) Wis. Stats., all investments made in any company, corporation, subsidiary or affiliate which practices or condones through its actions discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, creed or sex...shall be divested in as prudent but rapid a manner as possible as well as call attention to University of Wisconsin System Regent Trust and Fund Policy 97-1, which stipulates that the Board of Regents will seriously reconsider investments in companies that violate, subvert or frustrate the enforcement of rules of domestic or international law intended to protect individuals and/or groups against deprivation of health, safety, basic freedoms or human rights.

As concerned and conscientious members of the University community, we urge the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents to recognize that divesting its holdings in Caterpillar is a moral imperative and an act that signifies a commitment to socially responsible investment, basic human rights, international law, and the principle that nothing should impede human freedom and progress.

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Rebecca NguyenBy:
Culture and SocietyIn:
Petition target:
The UW System Board of Regents

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