Bhopal 20 years later
by 03.12.2004 22:14-
December 3rd, 2004, marks twenty years since the people of Bhopal awoke from their sleep, choking, near-blinded, to scenes of unimaginable horror and suffering. Overnight, at least 8,000 were killed in a city of 800,000 people.
Union Carbide's gas cloud was just the beginning. The ongoing efforts of both Union Carbide and its new owner Dow Chemical to evade their pending liabilities in Bhopal represent a classic case of corporate crime gone unpunished.
As in Bhopal, corporations around the world are today getting away with crimes against humanity and the environment, and dictating policies that affect all life on earth. Communities everywhere have learnt that the only way they will regain control of their lives and health is by fighting corporate crime directly.
Over twenty years, the survivors of Union Carbide's massacre, beset by extreme poverty, debilitated by illness and loss, starved of justice, have refused to accept defeat. Instead, against almost insuperable odds, they have carried on an unrelenting fight for justice and a disease-free, dignified life.
Its a fight they can still win. The twenty-year-long struggle for justice in Bhopal, and numerous other people's struggles around the world, demonstrate an extraordinary resilience and carry the indomitable hope that corporate globalisation can be reversed by the solidarity of public interest groups, individuals and people's organisations.
"We never want to see another Bhopal." Bhopal's survivors have said this from the beginning. To ensure this, it is vital that Dow Chemical, and other corporate offenders, are not allowed to get away with their crimes.
On Dec 3rd, 2004 the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal called for another global day of action.
In 2003, over 65 groups and individuals responded to our invitation to take part in the first Global Day of Action.
A CALL TO ACT
Besides coordinating protests against Dow-Union Carbide facilities worldwide, the ICJB invites all groups fighting corporate crime to take action on December 3 against the human, environmental, consumer and labour rights violations by private or public corporations.
A CALL TO ORGANIZE
Actions against criminal corporations and against Dow Chemical facilities and offices worldwide; teach-ins; vigils; phone-ins; petition drives; celebrations and media events. A list of Dow/Carbide facilities worldwide can be located here: http://www.dow.com/facilities/.
A CALL TO UNITE
Thousands of people from around the world will be participating in the Global Day of Action. Cities in India, including Bhopal, will host protests, events and actions; trade unions and community organizations internationally will also be participating: http://www.bhopal.net/gda/act2004.html
The ICJB (International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal) Demands That The Dow Chemical Company Must:
1. Face Trial : Ensure that prime accused Warren Anderson, former chairman of Union Carbide ceases absconding from criminal justice in India and the authorized representatives of the company [Dow-Union Carbide] face trial in the Bhopal criminal court.
2. Provide long term health care: Assume responsibility for the continuing and long term health consequences among the exposed persons and potentially their future generations. This includes medical care, health monitoring and necessary research studies.
The company must provide all information on the leaked gases and their medical consequences.
3. Clean up the poison: Remove the contamination of the ground water and soil in and around the abandoned Union Carbide factory in Bhopal. Provide for supply of safe drinking water to the community.
4. Provide Economic and social support : The corporation must provide income opportunities to victims who can not pursue their usual trade as a result of exposure induced illnesses and income support to families rendered destitute due to death or incapacitation of the breadwinner of the family.
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