A letter of solidarity to the survivors in the dharna from Amnesty International, India

To the members and supporters of:
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Bhopal Group for Information & Action
Bhopal Ki Aawaaz

Amnesty International India (AI India) expresses its solidarity with the ongoing dharna at Bhopal by the survivors of the gas leak disaster from the Union Carbide plant in December 1984. AI India reiterates its support to their demands, including adequate health care and economic rehabilitation, supply of safe water and removal of hazardous waste from the plant site and surroundings.
The dharna has commenced on 20 February, the first anniversary of the 800 km long Bhopal-New Delhi march undertaken by 55 of the survivors last year. They had marched on foot to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and press demands for ensuring adequate relief and rehabilitation for all the survivors and those communities affected by contamination of groundwater.
AI India recalls that, during the march, AI Secretary-General Irene Khan, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, had expressed concern over the apathy of the Central and Madhya Pradesh governments in ensuring justice to the survivors. She had urged him to
>> take immediate steps to ensure regular supply of adequate safe water for the domestic use of the affected communities in line with the order issued by the Supreme Court; and
>> ensure the immediate clean up of the factory site in order to contain further damage to the ground water and environment.
It is a matter of concern, that despite the assurances given by the Prime Minister and the setting up of the Coordination Committee on Bhopal (CCB), there has been a clear lack of will to implement the CCB’s decisions.
The Monitoring Committee for the Medical Rehabilitation of Bhopal Gas Victims, set up in 2004 under the Supreme Court, has reported on the miserable state of health care available for the survivors. The Committee’s reports highlight the lack of specialists and doctors, standardized treatment protocols, quality medicines, diagnostic equipment and system of monitoring health status in the hospitals meant for gas leak disaster victims.
In this context, Amnesty International India urges the Central and Madhya Pradesh governments to:
–– take adequate steps to ensure health care to the survivors,
–– plan long-term economic rehabilitation, in consultation with the survivors, and
–– ensure immediate and consistent supply of safe drinking water and clean up of hazardous waste from the site.
Mukul Sharma
Director, Amnesty International India

Joe Athialy
Campaigns and Communication Coordinator
Amnesty International India
Email: jathialy@amnesty.org / joeathialy@gmail.com

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