Los Angeles, CA – California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed bill AB 498 on September 24, 2008 which bans California contracts with companies that do business with Khartoum due to the ongoing genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. While the bill was introduced earlier last year, support for the bill gained momentum due to a broad based, anti-genocide grassroots advocacy effort which surged across the state in the past several months.
“The Armenian American community is pleased to see California resolutely state that it will not economically support a government that engages in genocide, that there are consequences to committing genocide, and that California will not shirk its responsibility in confronting genocide,” stated ANCA-WR Community Relations Director Haig Hovsepian. “The ANC applauds the hard work of the Save Darfur Coalition in working with the California community and anti-genocide organizations throughout the state in making this day possible – and will continue to work closely with our friends in the coalition to help end the disastrous cycle of genocide that continues today,” he added.
During an ANC organized advocacy day in Sacramento this past April, activists reminded state legislators about the importance of California being at the forefront of human rights by maintaining its commitment to confronting genocide, taking measures to prevent and punishing those who engage in that crime against humanity.
Over the past few months the ANC continued to work with the Save Darfur Coalition (SDC) by urging local activists to contact their legislators on this issue and the ANCA-WR co-signed several letters in support of the bill. In August 2008, the ANCA-WR participated in another advocacy day organized in collaboration with the SDC, Jewish World Watch, and several other Darfur groups.
Passage of AB 498 was made possible by the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007, which authorizes state and local governments to divest and prohibit contract bids from companies supporting the Khartoum government. Following Arizona, California is the second state to authorize the prohibition of contracts with genocide-linked companies. Texas is currently considering the contract ban legislation with the plan of introducing it next year.
The Armenian National Committee of America is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.