The International Rescue Committee (IRC), known for its ongoing work to support migrants and refugees in conflict regions across the globe, is honoring BlackRock CEO Larry Fink with the John C. Whitehead Humanitarian Award – even though Fink and his investors reap huge profits from war and weapons. Send a message to the IRC: there is nothing humanitarian about profiting from weapons sales.
TO: International Rescue Committee
We want to thank the International Rescue Committee (IRC) for its ongoing work to support migrants and refugees in conflict regions across the world. It is through the work of the International Rescue Committee that refugees are able to gain a foothold in their host countries. Today, we are our sharing our concern over this year’s John C. Whitehead Humanitarian Award Honoree Laurence D. Fink, CEO of BlackRock.
Larry Fink has stated that he would hold companies accountable for being responsible corporate citizens. His comments made waves in the business world. However, under his watch, BlackRock maintains significant stakes in weapons companies around the world. The products made by weapons manufacturers create refugees and internally displaced persons. They do not promote a just and compassionate world, which is why we are calling on BlackRock to divest its assets from weapons and warfare.
Because Larry Fink continues to profit from war, weapons, and violence, we are asking you to reconsider honoring him with a humanitarian award. As you know, the two leading contributors to the current global refugee crisis are climate change and war. Rewarding Mr. Fink’s profits from weapons and violence while you seek to assist the people impacted by these wars undermines the valuable work that IRC is doing around the world.
The military-industrial complex dominates U.S. spending and spreads death and destruction at home and abroad. Investing in weapons of war means that we are making a killing on killing – hardly the humanitarian way to run a business.
In 2016, the U.S. dedicated over $700 billion of our tax dollars toward the Pentagon, which amounts to 64% of federal discretionary spending; and half of the Pentagon’s spending goes directly to weapons manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics. This money is being used to engage the U.S. in seven active conflicts around the world, to give military support to the disastrous Saudi-led war on Yemen, and to support Israeli suppression of Palestinian human rights. As you have documented in your country file for Yemen, it is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. U.S. weapons manufacturers have sold more than $650 million worth of arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to support their war in Yemen. This includes small arms, precision-guided bombs, and so-called “dumb bomb” conversion kits. BlackRock and Mr. Fink own billions in shares of the companies who are arming Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which means he is actively profiting from the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
The massive profits these companies rake in are made on the backs of civilians in poor countries such as Yemen, who are paying the ultimate price of war. General Dynamics is a prime example of a company profiting from those who are suffering. The military contractor has taken a government contract to provide “social services” to migrant children held at U.S. detention camps. In the past, General Dynamics has provided weapons to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iraq, and Turkey, and directly benefited from the U.S. invasion on Iraq. IRC has condemned the actions at the border, and the separation of families. We are urging you to reconsider honoring Mr. Fink, as he profits from those displacements and gross human rights violations.
Honoring Mr. Fink with a humanitarian award directly contradicts the mission and vision of the International Rescue Committee. His company’s insistence on propping up weapons manufacturers undermines any possibility of diplomacy between countries and prevents the proper compassionate care of refugees and internally displaced persons.
We strongly urge you to reconsider your award to Laurence D. Fink.