Bern – Today, an open letter and petition signed by 50 parliamentarians and over 5,000 citizens was formally handed over to the board of the Swiss National Bank (SNB) by parliamentarians Delphine Klopfenstein and Christian Dandrès. This letter addresses a critical issue of exclusion and unethical investment practices by the SNB.

At the SNB AGM in April, Argentine lawyer Mariana Katz and Orlando Carriqueo, Werken (messenger) of the Mapuche nation, were barred from entering despite being duly registered. Both Katz and Carriqueo represent communities affected by the SNB’s investments in companies such as Exxon, Chevron, and TotalEnergies. These companies are involved in shale gas and oil fracking in Argentina’s Vaca Muerta region, a process known for its severe environmental and human rights impacts.

Key Points of the Open Letter:
1. Non-Discrimination: The letter condemns the SNB’s exclusion of Katz and Carriqueo, noting the discriminatory and intolerable nature of this action. The SNB’s claim that only committee members can represent organizations at the AGM was inconsistently applied, which further highlights the unjust treatment.

2. Ethical Investment: The letter calls on the SNB to cease its investments in fracking projects in Argentina, urging the bank to respect its own investment guidelines. These guidelines prohibit investments in companies that cause serious environmental damage and violate fundamental human rights.

Why This Matters
Fracking in the Vaca Muerta region has led to significant environmental and social consequences, including over 400 earthquakes in previously unaffected areas and contamination of air, water, and soil. From 2015 to 2018, companies admitted to more than 3,368 environmental incidents, with over 2,000 recorded in 2021 alone.

The open letter calls on the SNB to take immediate action by excluding holdings in companies that inflict massive damage on nature and local communities. By doing so, the SNB can demonstrate a commitment to ethical investment and responsible governance.

About the Signatories:
The open letter has garnered support from 50 parliamentarians across various political parties and over 5,000 concerned citizens, reflecting a broad consensus on the need for ethical investment practices.