Midland, Michigan, U.S.A. -- Eight days into an indefinite fast, two women
the worlds worst chemical disaster in Bhopal, India brought the
disaster home to top
executives of Dow Chemical, Union Carbides new owners. The survivors
Dow shareholders and leadership at Dows Annual General Meeting (AGM),
that the company take responsibility for the health consequences and environmental
impacts of their operations in Bhopal and other communities poisoned by
Dow and its
With graphic eleven-foot banners of gas-affected Bhopal residents as a
activists held up photographs of Bhopal residents affected Dow's pollution
at a rally
outside the shareholder meeting in Midland. More than thirty people from
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, a global coalition campaigning
Dow accountable for the Bhopal legacy, attended the rally and shareholder
A delegation from the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal will
Chairman and CEO William Stavropoulos on May 8th after the AGM. The delegation
reiterate its demands of Dow and will also extend an offer to Mr. Stavropoulos
personally come and visit the Bhopal community and abandoned factory site.
Mrs. Rasheeda Bee and Mrs. Champa Devi, survivors and leaders of the trade
Bhopal Gas Affected Women Stationery Workers Association, and long-time
activist Satinath Sarangi, launched their fast on May 1, 2003, at a demonstration
York's financial district. To date more than 130 people have fasted in
solidarity with the
trio, thirteen indefinitely.
"We're fasting to insist on the truth and to let the world know that
the world's largest
chemical corporation is now responsible for the liabilities in the world's
disaster," said 51-year old Devi, referring to the February 2001
and Dow's inheritance of Carbide's Bhopal liabilities. Devis husband
and five children
were exposed to Carbide's gases during the disaster, with her husband
cancer in 1997. Devi's granddaughter was born with deformities, a condition
to children born to gas-affected parents.
"Dow can deny its liabilities all it wants. But its liabilities and
our struggle will only grow
as time passes. As long as Carbide's toxic legacy continues to haunt Bhopal,
liabilities will haunt Dow and its shareholders," said Sarangi. On
April 25, victims and
survivors organizations reopened a recently dismissed class action suit
up and compensation for contamination-related damages, by filing an appeal
in the 2nd
Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. Union Carbide currently faces criminal
including manslaughter, in a Bhopal court for their role in the gas disaster.
Last year, socially responsible investment firms with over $13 billion
in assets sent a
letter to Dow highlighting its liabilities in Bhopal and express the need
for urgent action.
Since the Union Carbide merger, Dow has suffered serious financial losses,
industry observers at Forbes and Business Week to highlight the Carbide
a likely bad investment and future liability for the company.
"Dow's irresponsible behavior on the Bhopal issue is in line with
its corporate ethos.
What can you expect of a company that has poisoned its own nest,"
said Terry Miller of
Bay City-based Lone Tree Council. Miller, who is a resident of Bay County,
facilities in Midland have contaminated large areas in the vicinity, including
Tittabawasee river flood plain. Trillium Asset Management has filed a
the company to report to shareholders on dioxin and persistent toxic compounds.
resolution seeks information on all contaminated areas, potential liabilities,
plans related to the company's operations and products.
The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal calls upon Dow to face
criminal charges against Carbide in India, release toxicological information
the poison gases, arrange for long-term medical rehabilitation and monitoring,
economic rehabilitation and social support for survivors children, and
clean up the toxic
wastes and contaminated groundwater in and around Carbide's old factory
For more information:
In the US, contact: Nityanand Jayaraman: 520 906 5216 (cell) email@example.com
Tracey Easthope: 734-223-7603 (cell)
In the UK, contact: Tim Edwards. firstname.lastname@example.org
In Bhopal, contact: Rachna Dhingra. Tel: 0755 2747983 email@example.com