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Play Fair torchbearers confront IOC on labor rights violations
Jun '08
Play Fair 2008 activists were at the International Olympic Committee's headquarters to press Jacques Rogge, head of the Olympic movement's top organization to take long overdue action on the problem of labour rights violations where Olympic merchandise is produced.

“The IOC has had years to consider these issues yet continues to delay – their response to the labor rights crisis in the production of Olympic goods is inadequate and risks tarnishing the reputation of the Olympic Movement,” said Esther de Haan, in Switzerland today to hand over the signatures of more than 12,000 people from 99 countries worldwide who participated in Play Fair's alternative Olympic torch relay to carry a labour rights message to the IOC.

In March Play Fair campaigners launched the “Catch the Flame” initiative to draw attention to the IOC's persistent failure to take responsibility for working conditions in Olympic supply chains. The action mobilized “torchbearers”, beginning in the Netherlands where the first Olympic flame was lit, to sign onto a message to the IOC, spreading the virtual flame's message globally via Bluetooth, SMS and e-mail. The alternative flame reached China on May1st.

“The messages of concern from those who've signed onto Catch the Flame show that people from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe are joined in their belief that the IOC has to take action on these issues immediately,” said Neil Kearney, general secretary of the International Textile Garment andLeather Workers Federation.

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