Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

24 October 2011

Dow Olympic contract ‘shocking’ in light of Bhopal disaster failures

Dow Olympic contract ‘shocking’ in light of Bhopal disaster failures

Chemical giant Dow’s high profile contract with London’s 2012 Olympic Games is a slap in the face for the survivors of India’s Bhopal poison gas disaster who, 27 years on, still wait for justice, Amnesty International said today. 

Dow Chemical Company has been granted a contract to provide a decorative fabric wrap to encircle London’s Olympic Stadium during the next year’s Games.

Since 2001, Dow has been a 100% owner of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), the company which held a majority share in the Indian subsidiary that owned and operated the UCC plant responsible for the 1984 Bhopal disaster.

“The Olympic Committee’s guidelines on sustainable sourcing are meant to place a high priority on environmental, social and ethical issues when procuring material for the Games,” said Seema Joshi, Amnesty International’s Head of Business and Human Rights. 

“In light of these principles, it is shocking to find out that it has granted such a high profile contract to a firm which has failed to address one of the worst corporate related human rights disasters of the 20th century.”
 
“We feel that this denigrates the suffering of Bhopal’s survivors, and their long struggle for justice.”

In an open letter to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, Amnesty International asks the Committee to explain how the contract complies with the committee’s Sustainable Sourcing Code’s social and ethical priorities. 

Thousands of people died and more than 100,000 continue to suffer from health problems as a result of the Bhopal leak.

Twenty-seven years after the tragedy the site still awaits clean-up and a thorough investigation into the leak and its impact. Survivors have not received fair compensation or access to the medical care they need.

Survivors and human rights groups have been campaigning for Dow to address the ongoing health and environmental impacts of the disaster. However, Dow has consistently rejected any responsibility for UCC's liabilities in Bhopal.

Amnesty International is currently awaiting a reply from the organising committee.

Read More

United Kingdom: Procurement of goods from Dow Chemical Company (Dow) for London Olympic Stadium (Open letter, 24 October 2011)
First convictions for 1984 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal too little, too late (News, 7 June 2010)
Dow cannot run from the legacy of Bhopal by sponsoring 'Run For Water' events (News, 16 April 2010)
India: Clouds of Injustice: Bhopal disaster 20 years on (Report, 29 November 2004)

Issue

Business And Human Rights 

Country

India 

Region

Asia And The Pacific 

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