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13 global brands flunk test to stop Darfur genocide

November 27, 2007 14:13 IST

Thirteen of the 19 sponsors, including Coke and Visa, of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games have failed a test challenging them to pressure host China, Sudan's strongest business and political partner, to change its stance on Darfur crisis, a US anti-genocide group has said.

In a report released on Monday, 'And Now...Not a Word from Our Sponsors', the organisation 'Dream for Darfur' said it is necessary that corporations ensure that action in Darfur is taken before the games begin if they are live up to their "social responsibility".

"Our major conclusions were that the corporate Olympic sponsors are engaged in a form of silent complicity with the Chinese government in its support of genocide," said Ellen Freudenheim, who conducted research for the project.

In Sudan's Darfur region more than 200,000 people have been killed and at least 2.2 million others displaced since rebel groups began fighting government forces and allied militia in 2003.

Calling corporate to use the 2008

games as leverage to press China, to take urgent action to end the Darfur crisis, it said the "slaughter and insecurity" in Darfur have been on the rise. Despite hopes for progress this summer, there has been no viable movement toward peace.

Experts agree that China has unrivaled leverage with Khartoum, it added. Over the course of 16 weeks (May to October 2007), 'Dream for Darfur' asked 19 Olympic sponsors to undertake specific steps to communicate to China the problematic nature of its role in Darfur.

The group said it then graded them on whether they took steps to influence or contact China or the International Olympic Committee, donated aid to Darfur or appointed a point person on Darfur, among other criteria.

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