Chemical giant Dow’s high profile contract for 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 says.
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 per cent 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,” says 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,” he adds.
“We feel that this denigrates the suffering of Bhopal’s survivors, and their long struggle for justice,” says Joshi.
In an open letter to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, Amnesty is asking 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, the human rights NGO says.