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Olympics: Pressure mounts for LOCOG to review endorsement of Dow

Reacting to the news that Indian government officials are considering a boycott of the opening and closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Games in protest at the sponsorship of the stadium wrap by Dow Chemical Company, Seema Joshi, Amnesty International's Head of Business and Human Rights, said:

“The news that Indian officials might boycott the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Games is further testament to the depth of anger over Dow’s involvement with London 2012.

“It is very sad to contemplate that officials and possibly athletes from the Indian team might stay away to protest at this injustice, rather than walk into a stadium adorned with a wrap paid for by Dow.

“Now is the time for LOCOG to discuss what can be done to avoid the anger and disappointment over Dow’s involvement with the Games tainting the whole event for victims’ groups and all those who are excited by the Olympics.”

Bhopal’s massive gas leak in 1984 killed 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 from a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India.

Dow became the 100 per cent owner of the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) in 2001.

Amnesty International calls on LOCOG to:

1) Acknowledge that deficiencies in its ethical guidelines existed and had those deficiencies not exited, the decision on whether to procure the wrap from Dow would have been different;

2) Retract public statements it has 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; and

4) Revise its ethical policy to develop more rigorous criteria for assessing corporate human rights issues.

Since the disaster, survivors and human rights groups including Amnesty International have been campaigning for Dow to address the ongoing impacts of the disaster, including ongoing contamination of water by chemical waste, but the company has consistently ignored these calls, denying any responsibility for UCC's liabilities in Bhopal.

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