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Navin's News: Olympics

London Assembly Member Navin Shah joins Anti-Dow Demonstrators in Trafalgar Square

At midday today I joined the campaign group Drop Dow Now in a ‘die-in’ in Trafalgar Square. The protestors lay under shrouds at the Olympic Clock as part of an international day of action against Dow Chemical’s Olympic sponsorship. There are also actions in India, the US and Canada today: in Bhopal, India over 100 survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster staged a similar ‘die-in’ demonstration.

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Drop Dow Now is calling for Dow’s sponsorship of the London Games to be dropped due to Dow’s connections to the Bhopal gas disaster in 1984. The disaster killed over 20,000 and caused injury and illness to thousands more. Dow bought Union Carbide, the company which owned the site in Bhopal when the gas leak occurred, in 2001. The site of the disaster has still not been cleaned up, which has caused contamination of the water supply for thousands of Bhopalis. Hundreds of children continue to be born every year with birth defects as a result.

Whilst I’m fully supportive of the London Olympics, I am deeply disappointed with the attitude of LOCOG and the IOC for failing to do anything about this issue. As campaigners we are committed to continuing this movement to get rid of toxic organisations such as Dow from what are supposed to be sustainable and ethical worldwide Games. We will continue to fight for justice for the victims in Bhopal.

Meredith Alexander, who resigned from the Commission for a Sustainable London in January over Dow’s sponsorship of the Olympics, commented, “Although there is just one month to go before the Games begin, the victims of Dow's disaster in Bhopal are still waiting for LOCOG to acknowledge that the London Olympics are adding to their suffering.

“Dow's high profile involvement in the Games is a slap in the face to the people who have been fighting for years to get justice. Even if it is not possible to remove the Dow wrap, an official apology from the London Games organisers would mean the world to the people who lost loved ones or suffer life-long illness because of the gas leak. Dow's sponsorship is a toxic stain on these Games. Athletes, Londoners and spectators the world over would be better able to enjoy the Olympics if the problem is addressed before they begin."

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Colin Toogood from the Bhopal Medical Appeal said, “Everybody knows that Dow did not own the Bhopal factory at the time of the disaster. But this does not stop them from being responsible now. There is a criminal case still open against Union Carbide (UCC) for ‘culpable homicide’, and Dow refuses to present UCC in court. Dow is harbouring a fugitive from the law and preventing justice being done in Bhopal. Worse than that, while the legal process is stalled, people in Bhopal continue to be poisoned by toxic chemicals. Dow Chemical has both the power and the responsibility to stop this from happening.”

Amy Jonson from Drop Dow Now said, “Dow has been trying to whitewash its toxic reputation with this Olympic sponsorship. They are trying to ignore their responsibilities to the people of Bhopal, where the environmental and humanitarian disaster is ongoing. We will not let this happen.”

By Navin Shah AM

Navin celebrates Olympics with Harrow Asian Deaf Club

Harrow Asian Deaf Club (HADC) celebrated their first ever London Olympic 2012 Celebration by hosting the event at Bentley Day Centre this weekend to support the London Olympics 2012 in Harrow.

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The venue was decorated with British Flags and balloon in British colours of red, blue and white to celebrate the Olympics and encourage everybody to be proud of being British. HADC had a fantastic turn out, with 200 people joining the celebration including The Mayor and Mayoress of Harrow. The event kicked off with delicious and healthy refreshment and carried the sporty theme.

The enthusiasm for the London Olympics was most remarkable amongst the members and the progress made by the Harrow Asian Deaf Club in a such a short time too is most impressive. I thoroughly enjoyed the quiz and focus on the celebration of London Olympic. For the future Olympic and Paralympic games I'd like to see International Olympic Committee make greater level of consideration for deaf participants and people so that they don't feel sidelined. I look forward to working with the Club.

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 Navin Shah AM

 


Brent Youth Visit Olympic Site

I feel very lucky to be a member of the London Assembly in 2010, charged with the special privelege of overseeing the preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. I was delighted to be able to escort some members of the Brent Youth to visit the site in East London in September. The Olympic Park is now coming together at a very rapid pace, as all the buildings are started and nearing their final shape. You can view some more photos of the site on my website or www.london2012.com. If you are interested in visiting City Hall or the Olympic site, please get in touch. 

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20th September 2010