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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Coca-Cola urged at annual shareholders meeting to make commitment to human rights in China and Tibet

April 20, 2008

Reporters Without Borders/Reporters sans frontières
Press release
16 April 2008


All Olympic sponsors asked to sign declaration of responsibility

A Reporters Without Borders representative spoke at Coca-Cola's annual
shareholders meeting today in the US city of Wilmington, Delaware,
asking the company, an official sponsor of the Beijing Olympic Games, to
clarify its policies in China. The press freedom organisation is urging
all the sponsors to sign a declaration of responsibility undertaking to
clearly demonstrate their "commitment to human rights."

Other Reporters Without Borders members were stationed outside today's
meeting to tell participants about the situation of free speech in China.

"We became a shareholder in Coca-Cola in order to be able to make the
shareholders, executives and consumers of one of the leading Olympic
sponsors aware of the problems of human rights and freedoms in China and
Tibet," Reporters Without Borders said. "Coca-Cola and the other
companies that finance the Olympic Games have a role to play in ensuring
respect for the Olympic Charter they signed.

"As the political significance of these games is now evident to the
entire world, Coca-Cola can no longer remain silent about human rights
violations in Tibet and the current crackdown on dissidents in China. It
is perfectly legitimate to do business in China, but Coca-Cola and the
other sponsors also have a duty to promote activity in China in support
of the Olympic values of human dignity and harmonious development."

Reporters Without Borders added: "In the declaration we are proposing to
all the sponsors, we are asking them to take a position in favour of
freedom in China and to create a support fund for the families of
political prisoners."

The Reporters Without Borders spokesperson who intervened during today's
annual shareholders meeting was the organisation's US representative,
Lucie Morillon. Referring to the proposed declaration for Olympic
sponsors, she urged Coca-Cola's executives to take a public position on
the violations of human rights and free speech committed by the country
hosting this summer's games.

"Don't you think that repression in China and Tibet is in danger of
harming the Coca-Cola brand image around the world," Morillon asked. "If
you do nothing in support of rights and freedoms, Reporters Without
Borders will consider the possibility of asking consumers to protest,"
she added.

Coca-Cola CEO Neville Isdell replied that the company supports press
freedom worldwide but he would have to read the declaration before
taking a position on it.
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