Barry Gardiner MP, as Chair of Labour Friends of India, along with survivors of the Bhopal disaster and Indian Olympians, launched a new campaign at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford on Tuesday to protest the decision to award Dow Chemical Company the contract to build the decorative wrapping on the Olympic Stadium.
Barry and Labour Friends of India are appalled by Dow's human rights record in regards to the victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster puts the Olympic legacy at risk.
Dow owns Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), which was responsible for the 1984 gas leak in Bhopal. Half a million people were exposed to the gas and 25,000 have died to date as a result of their exposure. More than 120,000 people still suffer from illness caused by the accident and the pollution that followed at the plant site.
Health and human rights groups in Bhopal continue to report high rates of health defects and cancers among families who are forced to use contaminated groundwater sources. More than 10 independent scientific studies show dangerous levels of chemicals in water supplies.
Dow denies responsibility for the Bhopal spill and claims the the money paid the victims of the disaster was final. This settlement gave victims an average payout of only $630, and many received nothing.
Leading the campaign, Barry Gardiner MP, Chair of Labour Friends of India said:
"When Dow accepted the award of the Olympic Wrap commission their UK Managing Director bragged about Dow's "strong commitment to sustainability". This makes a mockery of the word, and is a stain on the ambitions of the Olympics.
In no sense does Dow meet the high 'environmental, social and ethical' standards demanded by the Olympics and I urge LOCOG to think again to protect the Olympic legacy for Britain."
The campaign launch received considerable coverage in the media: