(Chicago, IL)- For
the fifth consecutive year, James Owens, CEO of Caterpillar and his
board of directors, will be greeted by protesters at their annual
shareholder meeting to protest the sales of bulldozers that are used to
commit human rights violations.
addition, a wide reaching, diverse coalition of social justice and
human rights organizations will press for answers and educate
shareholders on the importance of supporting the Foreign Military Sales
resolution slated for a vote at next week's meeting.
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Jewish Voice for Peace, Stop
CAT will be joined by religious organizations both inside the
shareholder's meeting and outside to voice a collective call for
Caterpillar to be serious about complying with basic US law and international norms and standards.
"Caterpillar shareholders must vote for transparency. We must hold Caterpillar accountable for its actions," states Matt Gaines, member of Chicago-based, Stop CAT.
The end use of Caterpillar products and merchandise sold to Israel has been fitted for dual use in military operations. Caterpillar equipment and bulldozers are used as military weapons by Israel. They are destructive weapons specially fitted with armaments such as machine guns, grenade launchers and much more.
destructive machines have unlawfully demolished thousands of homes,
killed innocent civilians, including U.S. citizen Rachel Corrie, built
illegal settlements, uprooted thousand-year old olive trees, torn up
roads, and devastated basic infrastructure in many Palestinian villages. These operations constitute a violation of international law.
despite years of repeated corporate engagement by investors and
organizations such as Jewish Voices for Peace and Stop CAT, as well as
a host of religious organizations such as Sisters of Loretto and
Sisters of Mercy, Caterpillar continues to profit from the illegal
occupation of Palestinian land and territory.
that end representatives from organization and religious leaders
speaking on behalf of the shareholder resolution will be present at a
press conference on the same day as the shareholder meeting next Wednesday, June 11.
The protest begins at 12 noon followed by the press conference and shareholders meeting. All actions are taking place in front of the meeting downtown at the Northern Trust Building 50 LaSalle Street.
Scheduled Speakers include:
· Don Wagner, Author and professor at North Park University, Chicago
· Matt Gaines, Stop CAT (Chicago based, human rights group
· Suha Dabbouseh, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
· Representative. from Arab American Action Network
Ann McGivern-representative of the Sisters of Loretto, co-filers of the
shareholder resolution and Executive Director of Project COPE.
· Jesse Bacon, Member, Jewish Voice for Peace (Chicago affiliate)
of the featured press conference speakers are attending the annual
shareholder meeting to speak in support of the for, co-filed by Jewish
Voice for Peace, Sisters of Loretto, Sisters of Mercy and others
religious and social justice organizations.
Mary Ann McGivern asserts, "The
resolution makes a generally mild request for accountability,
requesting that the Board of Directors report on Caterpillar's foreign
sales of weapons-related equipment and products including the
destination of set products.
cries for accountability are growing each day. Practicing and engaging
in tactics of shareholder activism are but one way to ensure
corporation due what they claim to and what they should do, stressed,
Jesse Bacon, activist and member, Jewish Voice for Peace.
role in destroying Palestine homes must be stopped, said Matt Gaines,
Organizer, Chicago-based Stop CAT .We will sustain or efforts in
applying non-violent, tactics on Caterpillar until they adhere to there
own stated corporate standards", Gaines adds.
All corporations have an obligation to uphold US and adhere to international law and norms.
activism is one way to educate stakeholders to pressure their company
to serve as good corporate citizens, added Suha Dabbouseh, National
Organizer, for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
Sydney Levy, Director of Campaigns, Jewish Voice for Peace, adds, "Caterpillar shareholders must vote for transparency. We must hold Caterpillar accountable for its actions."
Speakers are available at the rally and press conference. For fact sheets, copy of the resolution and other materials, click here.
www.endtheoccupation.org The US Campaign to End the Israeli occupation is a coalition of over 250 organizations that aims to change those US policies that both sustain Israel's occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem and deny equal rights for all. www.jvp.org
Jewish Voices for Peace Jewish Voice for Peace is the country's largest
grassroots Jewish peace group dedicated to achieving a lasting peace
that recognizes the aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians for
security and self-determination. We work to promote a foreign policy
based on peace, democracy, human rights and respect for international
law. Contact us for background information on the silent majority of
American Jews who support an end to Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory.