Darfur group gives low marks to Olympics sponsors and promises wave of protests

LONDON - Pressure group Dream for Darfur has published an Olympics sponsors' report card, giving D or 'failed' grades to 16 top sponsors it claims have persistently refused to help bring security to the war-torn region.

The group claims that out of 19 sponsors, only Adidas, Kodak and McDonald's had urged the UN and international community to address the conflict in western Sudan, or took other actions.

Today's publication of the 100-page report will be followed at the weekend by protests at the headquarters and retail locations of low-scoring sponsors.

Adidas and Kodak alone were awarded a B+ grade and McDonald's a C+, while Ds were awarded to Coca-Cola and General Electric, and a D- to Johnson & Johnson, Lenova, Microsoft, Samsung and Visa.

The nine remaining sponsors received Fs: Anheuser-Busch, Atos Origins, BHP Billiton, Manulife, Panasonic, Staples, Swatch and Volkswagen.

‘Because sponsors are desperate to win the hearts and minds of 1.3bn potential consumers in China, they have been frozen into silence on Darfur,' claimed Mia Farrow, chair of Dream for Darfur. ‘If the summer Games go down in history as the Genocide Olympics, it will be because of the Chinese government's support of the regime in Sudan, abetted by the moral cowardice of the sponsors who would not speak out publicly about the genocide in Darfur.'

The situation is worsening in the region, according to a UN report released this week, which claimed that the number of deaths in fighting there had reached ‘perhaps 300,000'.

‘With all the lofty values that the Olympics represent, it is appalling - and even hypocritical - that these multinational sponsors refuse to even ask the United Nations to implement its own peacekeeping resolution (UN Resolution 1769) to bring security to Darfur,' said Ellen Freudenheim, director of corporate outreach for Dream for Darfur.

The Dream for Darfur report states that while the Olympics were meant to ‘open up' China, sponsors are instead appeasing the host nation by remaining silent on Darfur, and supporting the celebration of China on the world stage.

Kodak and Adidas each received a B+ for writing to the UN and allowing those letters to be made public. McDonald's received a C+ for taking a private action, of which it showed evidence to the campaign.

 

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