Coca-Cola Must Not Sponsor Live 8
Coca-Cola's Egregious Record in India and Colombia Antithetical to Live 8 Goals


For Immediate Release
June 15, 2005

Amit Srivastava, India Resource Centre T: +44 (0)7731 865 591 E: amit@IndiaResource.org

June 15, 2005 (London): The India Resource Centre and its allies are expressing serious concerns over news that Live 8 is in negotiations with the Coca-Cola company to seek sponsorship for the Live 8 concert.

Coca-Cola's sponsorship of Live 8 is completely antithetical to the goals of Live 8 and the India Resource Centre and its allies are demanding that Live 8 organizers immediately discontinue negotiations with the Coca-Cola company.

The Coca-Cola company is the target of intense campaigns by community groups in India and internationally.

Thousands of rural Indians are facing severe water shortages and polluted groundwater and land - directly as a result of Coca-Cola's operations. The company has also distributed its toxic waste to farmers around its plants under the guise of fertilizer, and Coca-Cola sells products in the Indian marketplace with high levels of pesticides that could never be sold in the US or EU because they do not meet US and EU standards.

Coca-Cola's crimes in India are no small matter. In a country where over 70% of the population still makes a living related to agriculture, taking away the water and poisoning the remaining water and land is a sure recipe for disaster. Thousands in India have lost their livelihoods, and in a country where over 40% of the population lives below the poverty line, the difference between life and death is a fine line.

Coca-Cola's main Latin American bottler, Panamco, is on trial in the US for hiring right wing paramilitaries to kill and intimidate union leaders in Colombia. Since 1989, eight trade union leaders from Coca-Cola bottling plants have been murdered by paramilitary forces, and the lawsuit, filed by the United Steel Workers of America, charges that the paramilitary worked with the blessing of, or in collaboration with, company management.

A formidable international campaign has emerged to hold the Coca-Cola company accountable for the serious crimes it is committing against humanity.

It is simply not acceptable to the India Resource Centre and its allies that Live 8 seek the sponsorship of a company that is perpetuating poverty in India and promoting a reign of terror in Colombia.

The Live 8 organization will become the target of the India Resource Centre and its allies if it chooses to proceed with an invitation to the Coca-Cola company as a sponsor.

"Coca-Cola is responsible for creating severe water shortages and pollution in India, and thousands have lost their livelihoods as a result. It is absurd to think that a poverty creating company can sponsor a poverty alleviating endeavor such as Live 8," said Amit Srivastava, director of the India Resource Centre which campaigns with Indian communities to hold Coca-Cola accountable.

The India Resource Centre is a bi-national (India-US) campaigning organization working to support local struggles against corporate abuses.

For more information, visit www.IndiaResource.org


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