Survivors’ leader and Goldman Award winner Rashida was in Britain for meetings with Amnesty International, and took the opportunity to visit supporters in Switzerland and Ireland.
In Dublin she called on the Irish people to support the struggle for justice of the Bhopal survivors.
Around 7,000 Bhopalis died in the first days after Union Carbide’s pesticide plant exploded in 1984. 15,000 people have died since and another 100,000 people still suffer chronic and debilitating illnesses.
Rashida told the meeting she was visiting Ireland to gather support for the campaign to secure adequate compensation for the victims.
“The Irish people have to be part of the campaign and they have to write to the Indian government and to the American government to get them to take responsibility for the clean up,” she said.
A $470m (€359.6m) settlement was agreed between the Indian government and Union Carbide in 1989 but this was based on the incorrect estimate – that only 3,000 people died.
The company was taken over by Dow Chemical Company in 1999.
Ms Bee, leafing through a photo album which showed babies with deformities, said there had been long-lasting consequences from the gas explosion.
“Women are suffering from kidney failure and breast cancer and men are suffering from tuberculosis. Mothers, who were young girls at the time, now can’t breast feed their babies and the water is not clean – it’s poisonous,” she said.
Rashida, with her friend and fellow Goldman Award winner Champa Devi Shukla, has led protests outside Dow Chemical offices around the world but the company has argued that it acquired no liabilities for the Bhopal disaster when it bought Union Carbide.
“The clean up of the mess hasn’t been done yet and people are not able to pay their medical bills.
“It’s Dow’s responsibility to clean up the mess and help the victims,” said Mrs Bee.
The company has a fully-owned subsidiary, Dow Corning Corporation in Midleton, Co Cork, which employs 60 people in research and development.
(This entry has been extensively cobbled from a report in the Irish News, to whom vast thanks and a Bhopali hug.)