'Dow has caused damage to reputation of London 2012' - Amnesty welcomes London Assembly vote

The London Assembly decision to condemn the appointment of Dow Chemical as an Olympic Partner is further testament of the wide-spread sense of betrayal felt by Londoners and people across the world, Amnesty International said today.

The London Assembly voted in favour of a motion which contended that the association with Dow has caused damage to the reputation of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Peter Frankental Economic Relations Programme Director at Amnesty International UK, said: “I hope that Seb Coe and LOCOG are starting to get the message loud and clear; people do not want Dow’s toxic legacy tainting the Olympics for them.

“The London Assembly motion is further testament to the sense of betrayal that people feel about the decision to associate with Dow, betrayal of Bhopal victims and survivors.

“We agree with the London Assembly’s assessment that the decision to appoint Dow as a sponsor was a result of the International Olympic Committee’s flawed criteria for partner selection, which does not consider human rights. This should not have been used as an excuse by LOCOG to evade their ethical responsibilities by getting Dow to sponsor the wrap around the stadium.

“LOCOG should recommend that future Olympic hosts consider the human rights record of a sponsor, so that this sort of shameful association does not happen again. That would be a fitting legacy for the London Games.

“In the meantime, Seb Coe should urgently retract statements he has made defending Dow, and he needs to apologise to the Bhopal victims and survivors for the hurt that has been caused by this association.”

Next week, Amnesty will be bringing a controversial multi-sensory art installation on Bhopal, to East London to highlight the Olympics link to Dow Chemical. The exhibition by Indian artist Samar Jodha, will be open to the public free of charge for the next few weeks. It recreates the night in 1984, when poisoned gas was leaked across Bhopal, killing between 7,000 and 10,000 people in its immediate aftermath, and a further 15,000 over the next 20 years. More than 100,000 people continue to suffer from serious health problems as a consequence of the leak of toxic chemicals.

Amnesty is encouraging the public to email Seb Coe and ask him to:

  1. Acknowledge that deficiencies in LOCOG’s ethical guidelines existed and had those deficiencies not existed, the decision on whether to procure the wrap from Dow would have been different;
  2. Retract public statements made affirming that Dow is not responsible for the events of 1984 Bhopal Disaster and subsequent contamination; 
  3. Apologise to the Bhopal survivors for the damage such statements caused them;
  4. Revise LOCOG’s ethical policy to develop more rigorous criteria for assessing corporate human rights issues.

More information about this action can be found at www.amnesty.org.uk/dow /p>

London Assembly motion

The text of the motion passed by the London Assembly today and moved by Navin Shah, echoed those concerns.

It reads:

“This Assembly believes that the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to select Dow as a Worldwide Partner has caused damage to the reputation of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This Assembly feels the IOC and national organising committees should consider the environmental, social, ethical and human rights records of companies when awarding high-profile partnership and sponsorship deals.

“The Assembly calls on the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) to recommend that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) introduces criteria for the selection of Worldwide partners and high profile sponsors for future Games that address the principles defined in their Olympic Charter, and that the IOC review their current partnership with Dow in light of those criteria.”

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