Help Stem the flow of Bavarian blood-money to Zimbabwe: Take ACTION against Giesecke & Devrient

From Sokwanele….

50 000 000 000 50 000 000 000 000 note, released on the 15th may and has just come into circulation – never forget to put back the three noughts removed by Gono in 2006

Yesterday, the German Development Minister, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, requested that Giesecke & Devrient stop delivering banknote paper (which is printed to denominations in Harare) to Zimbabwe. She said that the firm had signed an ethical code to which it is bound, that this code included human rights violations, and that the delivery of money served to stabilise Mugabe’s regime.

Download the Giesecke & Devrient Code of Conduct here (PDF format)

Giesecke & Devrient yesterday responded by saying it was ‘unsuitable for their organisation to act according to political beliefs‘. They also added that they deliver only to central banks accredited by the World Bank: “Es stehe dem Unternehmen nicht zu, bei der Lieferung von Banknoten und Papier politisch zu agieren. Das Unternehmen beliefere keine politischen Systeme, sondern vielmehr Zentralbanken und auch nur die, die bei der Weltbank akkreditiert sind”.

What Giesecke & Devrient are conveniently failing to appreciate, is that the central bank of Zimbabwe, the Reserve Bank, is headed by Gideon Gono who is a member of JOC: his job is to finance the terror camapign being run by JOC.

Giesecke & Devrient are insisting that they are not violating international trade embargos and keeping ’strictly’ to World Bank guidelines. They are however completely violating their own ethical guidelines.

When pressed, however, the Giesecke & Devrient spokesman said that Giesecke & Devrient were “reconsidering” the situation. This is a significant change in their stance. Remind them that their association with the Nazi party in the past haunts them; do they want to compound that history through association with another Dictator?

Yesterday also saw demonstrations by human rights organisations in front of the corporate headquarters in Munich. While CDU and Green Parliamentary members have spoken out against Giesecke & Devrient’s support of Mugabe’s regime, the German Development Minister’s request is the first sign of action from the German government. Angela Merkel, German President, had previously said that Giesecke & Devrient’s relationship with Zimbabwe is a “private matter”.

ACTION: We are calling on all our supporters and subscribers to phone, email and write to Giesecke & Devrient and demand that they immediately suspend their contract with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. We want them to stem the flow of Bavarian blood-money to Zimbabwe, and to give the Zimbabwean people a chance to survive, to heal, and to determine their own future without fearing for their lives.

Things are starting to move. We need to keep up the pressure.

Giesecke & Devrient now need to be put under external pressure into reconsidering their contract with Robert Mugabe’s Regime. Governments and Giesecke & Devrient’s corporate partners need to be reminded of Giesecke & Devrient’s role.

  • Write to, or telephone, Giesecke & Devrient. Thank them for reconsidering their actions. Remind them that the world is watching, and that they take care to follow the law by making their actions consistent with their code of conduct. See the letter suggestions

  • Politely point out to Giesecke & Devrient that a stain on a company’s reputation can last a very long time indeed. Send them the link to this article that appeared in the Australian media today and reminds the world of how Giesecke & Devrient got very rich under the Nazi party and even used slave labour supplied by Heinrich Himmler from prisoners in concentration camps. Giesecke & Devrient have only recently had to pay compensation to these poor people, do they want another stain so soon?
  • Write to the World Bank at civilsociety@worldbank.org
  • Write to the press and point out the relationship between the Governer of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and JOC
  • A readers’ letter in response to the news stories going about this may also be effective. See the story links in the original post and send your responses to these stories to the newspapers concerned
  • Write to European leaders about the responsibility of European companies, and the questionable legality of their actions. Raise the issue of the World Bank policy and guidelines. Ask them to urgently review the subject of trade sanctions to include Giesecke & Devrient’s banknote paper which props up the regime

Please feel free to write your own letters if you wish to, or use the one below and adjust to include your own words, or simply send them as they are.

LetterDear Dr. Ottenberg, Dr. Zattler, Dr. Schlebusch, Mr. Wolfgang Kunz, Mr. Kuemmerle and Mr. Mihatsch:

Please accept this letter as protest against Giesecke & Devrient’s involvement in sustaining the activities of the Zimbabwean government.

We note that one of the guiding principles included in the Code of Conduct on Giesecke & Devrient’s website is to “respect the personal dignity, privacy, and rights of every individual, regardless of their origin, nationality, culture, religion, or gender.” We believe that this principle, in relation to Zimbabwean civilians, is compromised by the contract Giesecke & Devrient has with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to print banknotes.

The Reserve Bank is headed by Gideon Gono, one of five individuals making up the Joint Operational Command (JOC), which is responsible for coordinating and carrying out a multitude of human rights violations against civilians. Gideon Gono’s responsibility is to finance the terror, using notes supplied by Giesecke & Devrient. A UN Security Council statement issued on 23 June 2008 makes it very clear that the Government of Zimbabwe is responsible for the violence in Zimbabwe.

On 22 June, the MDC party in Zimbabwe withdrew from an election scheduled to be held on the 27th June. They said: “We in the MDC cannot ask [Zimbabweans] to cast their vote on June 27 when that vote will cost them their life.” On the same day, an international newspaper provided one example of how money is used in Zimbabwe to fund terror: it reported that a bounty of £12,500 was placed on an MDC district councillor’s head. The article stated that this equates to approximately Z$25 trillion – notes supplied by Giesecke & Devrient.

In addition to this single example, we must point out that the money Giesecke & Devrient prints is being used every single day to pay war veterans and youth militia deployed to beat, torture, and intimidate Zimbabwean civilians. This has resulted in approximately 3,000 cases of political violence (including grotesque torture), and more than 200,000 people who have been internally displaced from their homes in the two months following the March 29th elections. Nearly 90 people have been murdered, including a woman who had both her arms and her legs cut off before she was thrown still alive into a burning hut.

We believe that Giesecke & Devrient’s contract with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is complicit in these acts of terror in that it enables Gideon Gono to fulfil his role in the Joint Operational Command. We believe that the continued supply of banknotes to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is playing a critical platform in sustaining a despotic regime.

We remind you that the Government of Zimbabwe has stopped the activities of many humanitarian organisations in Zimbabwe, critical for providing sustenance to desperate Zimbabweans. We were horrified to read in a major newspaper article (in March) that Giesecke & Devrient earns approximately £382,000 (US$750 000) of Zimbabwean taxpayers’ money a week to print banknotes for the Zimbabwean government.

Please be advised that 1 bag of ground maize meal, the staple diet in Zimbabwe, equates to roughly US$1, 80 per kg, about £1 per kg. A 10 kg bag would feed a child for a week if that child was eating two meals a day. Most children only get one meal a day, if they are lucky. This means that the money Giesecke & Devrient earns to print money that bankrolls the Zanu PF regime’s terror, translates to food for approximately 76,400 children every week.

We ask that you consider this letter in light of Giesecke & Devrient’s guiding principles and in light of the many statements condemning the activities of the Zimbabwean Government emanating from the UN, SADC and many other regional and international governments and human rights organisations. In particular, Genocide Watch issued a statement on the 19 June 2008 saying “ZANU-PF militias, the Zimbabwe army and police, and ZANU-PF mobs have pushed Zimbabwe to Stage 6, the Preparation stage immediately preceding political mass murder.” This is not just an issue of corporate social responsibility, but a question of whether Giesecke & Devrient will or will not serve as a willing financer of politicide.

We ask that Giesecke & Devrient suspends their contract with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe immediately.

Yours Sincerely,

CONTACT DETAILS TO SEND LETTERS

Country: Germany
Email 1: press@gi-de.com
Email 2: banknote-printing@gi-de.com
Email 3: elisabeth.wohlmannstetter@louisenthal.com
Telephone 1: +49 89 4119-0
Company / Business name: Giesecke & Devrient
Fax Number: +49 89 4119-1535
Website address: http://www.gi-de.com
Physical Address: Giesecke & Devrient GmbH Prinzregentenstrasse 159 D-81677 Munich, Germany P.O.Box 80 07 29, D-81607 Munich Germany
Additional information: more email addresses: gd.sales@gi-de.com (banknote processing) payment.cards@gi-de.com (electronic payment) government@gi-de.com (government solutions) telecom@gi-de.com (telecommunications) info@secunet.com (secunet Security Networks)

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