China: Human Rights Watch calls on Olympic sponsors to take steps to fulfill their human rights policies

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17 April 2008

China: Olympic Flame Turns Up Heat on Sponsors - Corporate Social Responsibility Rhetoric Does Not Match Reality

Author: Human Rights Watch

With fewer than four months remaining until the start of the Beijing Games, corporate sponsors of the Olympics risk lasting damage to their brands if they do not live up to their professed standards of corporate social responsibility by speaking out about the deteriorating human rights situation in China, Human Rights Watch said today. “Shareholders and consumers who care about human rights should not let Olympic corporate sponsors off the hook,” said Arvind Ganesan, director of Human Rights Watch’s Business and Human Rights Program. “Their silence on abuses in the run-up to the Beijing Games makes their claims to support human rights especially disingenuous.” The 12 highest-level corporate benefactors of the Beijing Games, known as the TOP sponsors (“The Olympic Partner”), are: Atos Origin, Coca-Cola, General Electric (GE), Manulife (parent company of John Hancock), Johnson & Johnson, Kodak, Lenovo, McDonald’s, Omega (Swatch Group), Panasonic (Matsushita), Samsung, and Visa. [also refers to NBC (joint venture General Electric & Vivendi Universal), Microsoft]

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1 April 2008

Olympic Corporate Sponsors: Rhetoric and Reality

Author: compiled by Human Rights Watch

Beginning in September 2007, Human Rights Watch wrote to all 12 “TOP” Olympic sponsors to encourage them to address human rights abuses taking place as a result of the Beijing Games, with targeted and achievable asks... Excerpts from the companies’ policies on commitment to social responsibility and their comments on China, the Olympics, and human rights follow below. [statements by Atos Origin, Coca-Cola, General Electric / NBC (joint venture General Electric & Vivendi Universal), John Hancock (part of Manulife), Johnson & Johnson, Eastman Kodak, Lenovo, McDonald's, Omega Watches (part of Swatch), Panasonic (part of Matsushita), Samsung, Visa Inc.]

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