BIANCA JAGGER writes:
"I visited Bhopal soon after the gas leak in 1989. The horror was hard to endure. On my return to the UK I spoke out against those responsible. It is unconscionable that after nearly 18 years, Union Carbide and its CEO Warren Anderson have not had to face charges. How has Union Carbide Corporation managed to escape with total impunity? How has Mr Anderson managed to avoid extradition for the 11 years in which he and his Corporation have been thumbing their noses at the Bhopal Court, thus breaking the legally-binding undertaking they gave to a US court? Why does the Indian government now seek to reward him by diluting the charges against him?
"These are questions that will be asked in Bhopal on Wednesday. People who lost loved ones and have been living with terrible illnesses for nearly 18 years will want to know, how did the Corporation get away with paying us such obscenely miniscule compensation? Would this have happened if 8,000 people had been gassed to death in the US or the UK on one single night? Why is human life in developing countries so devalued? What answers shall we give them? Should we hold up our hands and talk about the importance of multinational investment in India? Or legal technicalities? Should we say that when President Bush talks about corporate accountability, he specifically excludes Union Carbide and its new owners Dow Chemicals?
"What happened in 1984 was an unspeakable tragedy, what has happened since is a travesty of justice, an abuse of fundamental human rights on a contemptuous scale. It cannot be allowed to continue. Whether or not the Indian government has its way on Wednesday, the fight for justice must go on. I call upon decent people all round the world who believe in fairness and justice to join us in supporting the poor, the helpless, and the abused gas survivors of Bhopal."