Greetings from Amnesty International India!
On the night of 2 December 1984, over 35 tons of toxic gases leaked from a pesticide plant in Bhopal owned by the US based multinational Union Carbide Corporation which killed more than 7000 people and injured hundreds of thousands more within 2-3 days. In the last 20 years, at least 15,000 more people have died and more than 100,000 suffer from chronic illness related to gas exposure.
The disaster raised fundamental questions about government and corporate responsibility. Yet 21 years later, the survivors await not just compensation, adequate medical assistance & treatment, and comprehensive economic and social rehabilitation but justice. The plant site has not been cleaned up. As a result, toxic wastes continue to pollute the environment and contaminate water that surrounding communities rely on. And, astonishingly, no one has been held to account for the leak and its appalling consequences.
This gas leak had a human rights impact. It killed many and left many with health problems. The concerned governments and the international community must ensure that victims of human rights violations have effective access to justice and effective redress for the harm suffered without discrimination and regardless of whether those responsible for the violation are governments or corporations
Amnesty International India supports this cause. AI India had issued a
report on Bhopal disaster (The report ‘Clouds of Injustice: Bhopal disaster 20 Years on’ may be downloaded from
http://web.amnesty.org/pages/ec-bhopal-eng) in November 2004 and also put forward recommendations to the governments of India & Madhya Pradesh, US government, UN Commission on Human Rights and DOW Chemical Company.
Amnesty International is:
· Urging people around the world to put pressure on Dow and the Indian
Government demanding that the site is cleaned up and affected communities are compensated.
· calling on the Indian Government to promptly assess the damage to health and the environment caused by the leak and the contamination
· Recommending the implementation of a global human rights framework for business, based on the UN Norms for Business. To hold companies accountable and guarantee redress for the victims it is imperative that such standards are implemented and mechanism to enforce them are put in place.
THE LONG MARCH TO DELHI
On 20 February 2006, around 150 Bhopal survivors will begin a march on foot from Bhopal to New Delhi (900 km) which will last for approximately 5 weeks. The march will be led by four Bhopal-based organisations: The Bhopal Group for Information and Action, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha and Bhopal ki Aawaaz.
The marchers will seek a meeting with the Prime Minister when they reach New Delhi and present him with a series of demands (Appended).
As a part of the campaign, Amnesty International sections worldwide will be holding simultaneous marches. AI International Secretariat is appealing to members around the globe to hold parallel marches in solidarity with the one going on in India and to submit petitions to the India Embassies of their countries.
While AI members worldwide are engaged in supportive actions, it is
imperative that AI India be active in our support and solidarity. We
request our members to join the march for solidarity. As a member of AI India you can show solidarity by
· Joining the march for any stretch.
· Holding different programs in your town / city to support the demands of people.
· Campaign by getting signatures on a petition to the Prime Minister and faxing appeals to GoI (Fax No. 011-23743857)
· Submit memorandum to the Governors of your state.
Please do not forget to keep us informed about the programs that you carry out. We would appreciate receiving reports and photographs about the action/s that you have done.
Seeking best support from all of you!
Suresh K T