IOC, Athens 2004 silent to suffering

Companies buying from the modern-day slave markets will be among the major players at the August Olympics, their logos broadcast around the world and huge sums spent on linking their products with the Olympic idea. Adidas is the official sportswear sponsor for the Athens Olympics, and Mizuna will be supplying the official uniforms of the International Olympic Committee and the Athens Organizing Committee. According to Oxfam, anything connected with the Games must abide by the Olympic Games’ founding charter, which clearly states that the Olympic ideal has to contribute to the creation of a way of life «based on respect for universal fundamental moral values.» Unfortunately, the IOC is silent on the issue, instead of obliging all firms involved in the Games to pay strict observance to workers’ rights as well as the relevant national and international legislation. According to Oxfam’s report, in October 2003 at a factory producing sportswear bearing the Olympic Games logo, staff were working up to 17 hours a day, six days a week. Apart from the exhaustion they were suffering from, some pregnant staff workers had miscarriages as a result of overwork. There was no social security and they were subjected to insults instead of sympathy. Unfortunately, neither the IOC nor the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee has shown the slightest concern, not to mention the repeated accidents at Olympic construction sites, including 18 fatalities, chiefly at the Olympic Village. Jasmine Whitbread, International Director at Oxfam, urges the IOC to use every means at its disposal, even the use of boycotting, to improve the lives millions of workers – so that in the end we can truly be proud of Olympic Games.»

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