London/Bhopal: Meredith Alexander, a prominent member of the independent watchdog
that monitors the sustainability of the 2012 London Games, has
resigned to protest Dow Chemicals' sponsorship of the Olympic
Alexander, who was one of the 13 Ethics Commissioners for the
Games, late Wednesday quit her unpaid role, protesting against the
7 million pound sponsorship deal with the chemical giant, which is
linked to Union Carbide, the company responsible for the 1984
Bhopal gas disaster that claimed thousands of lives.
Her step was welcomed by organisations representing the Bhopal
victims, who lauded her courage while asking Indian leaders to
fight against Dow's sponsorship more actively.
Dow's association with the London Olympics has angered human
"I don't want to be party to a defence of Dow Chemicals, the
company responsible for one of the worst corporate human rights
violations in my generation. It is appalling that 27 years on, the
site has still not been cleaned up and thousands upon thousands of
people are still suffering. I believe people should be free to
enjoy London 2012 without this toxic legacy on their conscience,"
Her resignation comes after organising committee chairman
Sebastian Coe defended Dow's sponsorship deal, saying the company
had no involvement with Bhopal at the time of the disaster or when
the final compensation settlement was agreed.
The Ethics Commission said in a statement: "Sorry to confirm the
resignation of Commissioner Meredith Alexander, whose remit
covered supply chains and behaviour change."
It added: "Meredith has stated that the reason for her resignation
is that she does not feel she can remain with the commission in
light of Locog's appointment of Dow Chemicals as the stadium wrap
supplier, and the commission fully respects her decision to leave
on this basis."
The commission is partly funded by the organising committee and
was formed in 2007 to oversee the sustainability standards of the
Olympic delivery bodies.
Shaun McCarthy, the commission chairman, said that while the
commission wholeheartedly agrees that human rights are of
paramount importance, it is not something the organisation is
empowered to handle.
In Bhopal, the five organisations who work for the cause of gas
survivors Thursday felicitated Alexander by placing a bouquet of
pink roses before her picture.
"At least, she (Alexander) had the courage to take such strong
step even being in London. But, it also exposes our officials and
leaders who have no gut to take such bold step in protest against
Dow Chemicals," Abdul Jabbar of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udhyog
Sangathan told IANS.
Rashida Bee, president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Stationery
Karmchari Sangh said: "By speaking the truth so boldly Alexander
has nailed Dow Chemical's lies that the London Olympics
(organising) committee and its chairman, Lord (Sebastian) Coe,
believed and propagated till recently. We hope this will make the
committee dump Dow Chemicals as a sponsor of the London Games."
Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action
expressed hope that Alexander's resignation will prompt the Indian
government to express its opposition to Dow Chemical's sponsorship
"To be taken seriously by the London Olympic Committee, the Indian
government has to do more than send a protest note. It is time for
LOCOG to be told that India will not take part in the London
Olympics if it continues to be sponsored by a corporation
responsible for continuing death and suffering in Bhopal," she