Unfazed by the strong protests in India, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Thursday made it clear that the Dow Chemicals will remain a sponsor of the London Olympics, insisting that the company had no role in the Bhopal gas tragedy.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has repeatedly expressed its opposition to Dow Chemicals as one of the sponsors for the London Olympic Games, because of its ownership of the infamous Union Carbide that was responsible for the worst industrial disaster in India.The IOA had urged the IOC and London Games Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) to withdraw Dow as games sponsors.
However, in a letter to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), IOC on Thursday said its relationship with Dow Chemicals is well over 30 years and "we were aware of the Bhopal tragedy when discussing the partnership with Dow".
In its letter to IOA acting President Vijay Kumar Malhotra, IOC chief Jacques Rogge said that "IOC recognizes that the Bhopal tragedy in 1984 was horrific event for India and the world. The Olympic Movement sympathizes with the grief of the victims' families and regrets the ongoing suffering people face in the region."
"The IOC and LOCOG were aware of the Bhopal tragedy when discussing the partnership with Dow. Dow had no connection with the Bhopal tragedy. Dow did not have any ownership stake in Union Carbide until 16 years after the accident and 12 years after the $470 million compensation agreement was approved by the Indian Supreme Court," he said.
"The court has upheld this agreement twice since then, in 1991 and 2007. We understand that this is being reviewed yet a third time by the India Supreme Court and we are aware of Dow's position in this mater, and of the sensitivities of all parties."