Thursday, August 21, 2008

Olympic Corporate Sponsors With Their Heads in the Sand

Olympic Sponsors Ignore China's Rights Violations on Yahoo! News

by Alison Raphael, OneWorld US

Tue Aug 19, 3:19 PM ET

WASHINGTON, Aug 19 (OneWorld) - A leading U.S. human rights group blasted Olympic corporate sponsors such as McDonald's, Panasonic, and Coca-Cola yesterday for disregarding human rights abuses in host country China.

"The Olympic sponsors claim to be good corporate citizens," said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch (HRW). "But as they enjoy the Games from the comfort of their seats at the Olympic stadium, they should reflect on their failure to speak up for the Chinese citizens who built the stadium and their hotels, clean their hotel rooms, serve their meals or, in the case of Chinese journalists, try to bring them their news."

The statement refers to the oppressive conditions imposed on workers brought in from poor areas of China to build the stadiums; families uprooted from Beijing to make room for the Olympic facilities; 'undesirables' forcibly removed from the city; and pressure on the Chinese media to remain mute about protests and abuse, as well as detentions and beatings of both protestors and journalists.

Despite their public pledges of "social responsibility," most of the corporations reached by HRW refused to accept any responsibility for speaking out on human rights

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