APPEAL TO JWJ PARTICIPANTS
The world's worst industrial disaster, the December 3, 1984 gas leak from a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, has killed more than 20,000 to date and poisoned at least 500,000, 80 percent of whom were from poor workers' families.
Many local factories, including a textile mill and a paper board manufacturer, were forced to shut down and relocate after their workforces were killed or irreparably injured by Carbide's gases.
Even today, at least 150,000 people are chronically affected by gas-related ailments. More than 50,000 people are too sick to work for a living.
In 2001, Dow Chemical acquired Union Carbide despite warnings against the move by Bhopal survivors and their supporters.
Now Dow claims that it has only acquired Carbide's assets but not its liabilities in Bhopal.
The struggle for justice in Bhopal, led by, among others, a trade union of gas-affected women stationery workers, is now entering its 19th year.
To help, please sign the petition to Dow Chemical Chairman, William Stavropoulous.
For more information about what happened in Bhopal and the ongoing justice campaign please visit the website of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, www.bhopal.net
Please print out the letter and form below, collect as many signatures as possible and post it to William Stavropoulos at the address below.
PETITION TO DOW CHEMICAL CHAIRMAN
DATE: 21st June 03
Dear Mr. Stavropoulos,
I am a participant at the national Jobs With Justice 2003 conference held in Miami, Florida, from 19th - 22nd June. As the name of the conference suggests, I feel very strongly about the inter-linkages between jobs and justice and the inherent right of people to a livelihood and life with dignity. I am appalled at the singular lack of respect Dow Chemical has shown towards the environment and human life, particularly in the manner in which it has chosen to handle the just demands of the survivors of the Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India.
The world's worst industrial disaster, the Carbide gas leak of December 3, 1984, has killed more than 20,000 to date, and poisoned at least 500,000, 80 percent of whom were from poor workers' families. Many local factories, including a textile mill and a paper board manufacturer, were forced to shut down and relocate after their workforces were killed or irreparably injured by Carbide's gases. Even today, at least 150,000 people are chronically affected by gas-related ailments. More than 50,000 people are too sick to work for a living.
After paying a pittance in damages ' approximately $500 for injury or lifelong loss of health ' Carbide fled India to dodge outstanding criminal charges against it in Bhopal.
The disaster occurred because Union Carbide's Bhopal factory had an inherently flawed design. Several vital safety systems were turned off to save money, and several others were malfunctioning the day the disaster happened. Safety personnel had been laid off as part of Carbide's cost-saving drive, and the warnings of plant workers and others about the imminent disaster were ignored.
Rather than acknowledge its crimes, Union Carbide has sought to blame the entire disaster on a saboteur ' a fictitious disgruntled worker. Till date, the company has failed to name this worker. Union Carbide's 'disgruntled worker' theory has come under intense fire by workers' organizations and other public interest groups. Despite that, both Carbide and its new owner Dow Chemical have maintained the lie, and continue to actively propagate it through their PR website (www.bhopal.com).
By refusing to appear in the Indian courts where criminal charges against Carbide are pending, both Dow and Carbide have shown their blatant disregard for law, and insensitivity towards human suffering. We demand that Dow heed to the following demands of the Bhopal survivors:
Dow Chemical 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.