International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal


For immediate release International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal


BHOPAL SURVIVORS END US TOUR
Call on supporters to declare December 3rd
Global Day of Action Against Corporate Crime


June 5th 2003 USA


Two survivors of the 1984 Union Carbide Bhopal gas disaster, Champa Devi Shukla and Rashida Bi ended their 38-day US
tour in San Francisco declaring it a major success.


“Except for the lies we and Dow shareholders were told by the CEO at the Annual General Meeting of Dow Chemical in
Midland, Michigan, all other aspects of our tour were immensely successful,” said Champa Devi, Secretary of the Bhopal
Gas Affected Women Stationary Workers’ Union, a leading member of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal.
On May 8th at the Dow Chemical AGM, responding to Champa Devi’s question of why Dow would not accept its fully
owned subsidiary, Union Carbide’s legal liabilities in Bhopal and appear in the Bhopal district court, William Stavropolous,
the CEO said, “Only its ex- CEO Warren Anderson is facing criminal charges in Bhopal not Union Carbide.” Dow's PR
spokesperson stated the very next day that Mr Stavropolous 'misspoke.'


“As recently as April 9, 2003, the Central Bureau of Investigation had indicated to the court that it will submit a report on
including Dow as an accused in addition to Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) in the ongoing criminal case. In merging
with UCC, Dow has acquired a fugitive from justice. By failing to subject itself to the Indian legal system, Dow is trying to
evade its responsibilities and has exposed its callous disregard for the law of the land,” said Satinath Sarangi of ICJB.
Sarangi, along with Bee and her colleague Champa Devi, began an indefinite fast from New York’s financial district on May
1 just a few days after they filed a notice of appeal on their class action lawsuit seeking environmental damages from Union
Carbide in the New York Federal Court.


The survivors’ tour began in the south in Texas, where they were invited by local environmental justice activists to go on a
toxic tour of southeast Houston, a port area that has the dubious distinction of having one of the highest cancer rates in the
country. The tour then progressed through Austin, Louisiana, New York, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Washington DC, Atlanta,
Raleigh Durham, Pittsburgh and San Francisco where survivors spoke at several conferences, met with student groups,
South Asian communities and congressmen and most important of all, with two communities facing toxic exposure from
Dow Chemicals.


The women survivors, who are also trade unionists, were successful in winning solidarity for their global resolution from
national trade unions and labor groups too. “When Governments and Corporations do not live up to their obligations, it is
only solidarity among workers, trade unions and people’s groups that can carry us forward,” said Rashida Bi, speaking at a
gathering of Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy (PACE) workers union in Clare, Michigan. PACE was just one of
the many unions and labor groups from whom the survivors won overwhelming support for their campaign. AFL-CIO, Jobs
with Justice, HERE, United Steel Workers of America (USWA), 9 to 5 (National Association of Working Women), Living
Wage Campaign and Farm Workers of America are a few other groups that have pledged support for the gas affected
Bhopalis.


Dennis Kucinich, chair of the Progressive Caucus and a presidential candidate from Cleveland, Ohio expressed his shock at
the extent of Dow Chemical’s abuses on the gas-affected population. At a staff briefing organized by him, Jim McDermott,
congressman from Washington State and a member of the Indian Caucus stated that he would be most interested in going to
Bhopal during a trip he was planning to India in December 2003.


The most significant support for the campaign came from the Indian diaspora groups like Association for India’s
Development (AID), ASHA, North American Association of Madhya Pradesh in San Francisco and South Asians for
Development Alternatives. Bhopal gas survivors received a standing ovation from a 200 strong contingent at the Association
for India’s Development annual conference in Pittsburgh. "After meeting the survivors and learning about the conditions in
Bhopal firsthand, many of us were deeply moved by their struggle. We intend to do whatever we can to support their
campaign for justice and Bhopal campaign has unanimous support and endorsement of AID." said Nishant Jain, member of
AID-Austin chapter.


The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal has declared the upcoming anniversary -- December 3, 2003 -- of the
1984 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal as the Global Day of Action Against Corporate Crime. One of the longest
ever fights for justice waged by survivors of an industrial disaster against a transnational corporation, the Bhopal struggle
epitomizes the worst abuses of globalization and the challenges involved in holding corporations accountable. On Dec 3,
2003 Bhopal survivors will call on pollution-impacted communities, public-interest organizations, trade unions, student
activists, concerned citizens and progressive academics to take action against criminal corporations and specifically against
Dow Chemical facilities and offices worldwide.


For pictures or more information please contact:
In the USA
Krishnaveni Gundu
US Coordinator
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal
(Coalition of environmental & social justice organisations led by women's survivor groups of 1984 Union Carbide gas disaster)
Cellphone +1 832 444 1731
Email krishnaveni_g@sbcglobal.net
Or visit www.bhopal.net