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Dow wins 2005 Public Eye Award for worst corporation


The Public Eye on Davos – the coalition of NGOs set up as a counterweight to the WEF, has voted Dow Chemical Worst Corporation in the human rights category of its excrescence awards. Dow easily beat a field of deeply unpleasant competitors that included Bayer, Bechtel, Nestlé, Syngenta, Total and Unocal.

Dow was nominated by Greenpeace Switzerland and the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB), the nomination claiming that:

Dow, the world’s largest chemicals corporation, has one of the worst environmental and social legacies of any major corporation, encompassing Agent Orange, Asbestos, Dioxin, Dursban, DDT, Napalm and Bhopal.

The vote was by public online ballot, open to all comers.

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Tsunami information, relief, donations

As the death toll from the Boxing Day tsunami in the Indian Ocean climbs towards 300,000, we have received these updates from friends in Cuddalore, Tamilnadu and Ko Phi-Phi, Thailand.

Tsunami Update from Cuddalore
Tsunami news from Ko Phi-Phi, Thailand

We will continue updating as we receive more information.

The following information dates from the period immediately after the tsunami struck.

BBC missing persons helpline

AID (Association for India’s Development), a member of the ICJB, runs 32 projects in Tamilnadu, not all have yet been contacted. AID has set up a donation page for immediate and long term aid to victims of the tsunami.

Blogspot offering collection of links and info for people wanting to donate or send rescue materials. Details aid collection centres in Singapore and India, plus first relief efforts in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, with lists of medical supplies needed. Volunteers are needed to update and expand the page which also carries information about donating airmiles, and Everton FC’s tsunami relief appeal and much more.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without boundaries) has opened a clinic in Indonesia’s Aceh province near the epicentre of the quake. Information and donations here.

Google’s list of links to major relief agencies accepting donations for the relief of the tsnuami victims. Agencies include American Red Cross, CARE and Sarvodaya.

Nature.com’s links page to organisations providing disaster relief.

Oxfam, UK


ABC News links to organisations carrying out relief work.

Help for Sri Lankan fishing communities
The North Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA) in Biddeford, Maine has set up a relief account at St Joseph’s Credit Union for Sri Lankan fishing communities affected by the disaster. The bank will not charge any wiring fees for the funds to be sent to Sri Lanka.

St. Joseph’s Credit Union
NAMA – Relief Efforts
35 Bradbury Street
Biddeford, Maine 04005

Please make your cheques payable to the NAMA-Relief Fund. St. Joseph’s will keep track of donors and send each of you a receipt.

Meanwhile we have received this update from Nity Jayaraman on the situation near Cuddalore, Tamilnadu, where we have been working with communities threatened by hazardous chemical plants:

We’re all fine here, as are the friends from SIPCOT Cuddalore. The
industrial region witnessed a rise in river water level, and flooding of
certain areas. However, there was no destruction of property, and only one life lost in the flood. The nearby areas in Cuddalore were hit very hard, with entire villages having been wiped out, and many others devastated. the loss of life has been massive. fortunately, the governmental relief efforts in cuddalore have been better than in any other place. there is no dearth of food or clothing at the moment. however, appropriate medical care remains elusive. also, material for rebuilding lives — utensils, foodgrains, stoves and money for rebuilding houses. i’m travelling to cuddalore tomorrow to better understand how we can help in a focused manner. in the meantime, i’m directing all queries to Association for India’s Development and Tamilnadu Science Forum. when the need arises. The Cuddalore monitors have been engaged in relief work, and are slowly getting back to their own lives as well.

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An open letter to Shri Babu Lal Gaur, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh


Dear Chief Minister Gaur, Yesterday in Bhopal you told a press conference that you have decided to build a memorial to the memory of those who died in the Union Carbide gas disaster of twenty years ago. “Even after 20 years have passed,” you said, “no memorial has been built for the people who lost their lives in lethal MIC gas leakage from the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal in 1984,” adding that you have already sought the support of Mr Arjun Singh, Union Minister for Human Resource Development, who has promised assistance. You have decided the nature of the memorial, which, you told reporters, “will resemble the Union Carbide factory from where lethal methyl isocyanate leaked out on the night of December 2, 1984.”

Continue reading An open letter to Shri Babu Lal Gaur, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh

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European Parliament calls for UN special rapporteurs on Bhopal

The European Parliament has adopted a resolution calling for
UN special rapporteurs to visit Bhopal in order to examine and assess the effects of Union Carbide’s activities, including the 1984 disaster and subsequent poisoning of water by toxic chemicals abandoned by the company in its now-derelict factory.

The resolution calls on the Governments of India and Madhya Pradesh to ensure the prompt decontamination and clean up of the Union Carbide factory site, and to ensure a regular and adequate supply of safe water to affected communities as ordered by the Indian Supreme Court and to ensure adequate and accessible healthcare for all survivors.

The parliament also called for a reassessment of the compensation received by victims under the 1989 settlement.

The resolution is to be forwarded to the Governments of India and Madhya Pradesh and to the Dow Chemical Company.

Draft resolution here.

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Students at 60 colleges on five continents demand justice for Bhopal


Students from more than 60 colleges, universities, and high schools worldwide have organized events this week to mark the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster, and to demand that Dow Chemical resolve its legal and moral responsibilities for the “Hiroshima of the chemical industry”. The events, organized by Students for Bhopal, Association for India’s Development (AID) chapters, the Campus Greens and the Environmental Justice Program of the Sierra Student Coalition (SSC), represent the first mass student movement Dow has faced since its production of Agent Orange and Napalm during the Vietnam War.

On December 3rd, 1984, thousands of people in Bhopal, India, were gassed to death after a catastrophic chemical leak at a Union Carbide pesticide plant. More than 150,000 people were left severely disabled ––of whom 20,000 have since died of their injuries––in a disaster now widely acknowledged as the world’s worst-ever industrial disaster. None of the six safety systems at the plant were functional, and Union Carbide’s own documents prove the company cut corners on safety and maintenance in order to save money. Today, twenty years after the Bhopal disaster, those who survived the gas remain sick, and the chemicals that Union Carbide left behind in Bhopal have poisoned the water supply and contributed to an epidemic of cancers, birth defects, and other afflictions. Since its purchase of Carbide in 2001, Dow-Carbide has refused to clean up the site, which continues to contaminate those near it. It has refused to fund medical care or livelihood regeneration, and it has refused to stand trial in Bhopal, where the Union Carbide Corporation faces criminal charges of culpable homicide (manslaughter), and has fled these charges for the past 12 years.

The events, which include several protests at Dow facilities, demonstrations, and educational events, stretch across five continents and on campuses throughout the United States. Examples include:

University of Texas, Austin, where the members of AID-Austin have organized a three-day-long series of events. These include a day-long protest against University involvement with Dow, a hunger strike and candlelight vigil, and a film screening and open discussion about the disaster. Contact: Nishant Jain, AID-Austin (512)-422-7169

St. Benedict’s Preparatory High School in Newark, New Jersey, where the members of the SBP Environmental Club are planning to reenact the Bhopal tragedy, complete with the Grim Reaper and foaming dry ice. The new documentary “Twenty Years Without Justice” will also be shown to their 650-student school, followed by a question and answer session. A copy of this film and the book “Trespass Against Us” will then be donated to their high school library. Contact: Daniel Saraiva, SBP Environmental Club (908)-247-8360

Delhi University in India, where the members of the student group “We for Bhopal”, will release the report of its October 2004 Fact Finding Mission to Bhopal, for which students met with survivors, toured the factory grounds, and interviewed the Chief Minister of the state government and other officials. The students intend to deliver the report in person to the President and Prime Minister of India, following up on their meeting with the President in March. In addition, “We for Bhopal” is also organizing a massive candlelight vigil to mark the anniversary, and will be judging the results of its college essay competition. Contact: Suroopa Mukherjee, Professor, Hindu College (g_mukherjee@satyam.net.in)

As during the Vietnam War, students will also organize protests against college affiliations with Dow-Carbide, including recruitment, investment, anD financial contributions.

“Students are outraged,” said Ryan Bodanyi, the National Coordinator for Students for Bhopal. “They don’t want their colleges and universities associated with a corporation that maintains its profit margins by poisoning people and blithely standing aside as they die. Dow-Carbide’s callous disregard for the value of human life hasn’t changed much since the Vietnam War, and students aren’t going to be any more forgiving now than they
were then. Dow-Carbide should expect these protests to continue and intensify.”

“We’re not going to allow Dow-Carbide to get away with murder,” declared Nishant Jain, one of the leaders of AID’s Austin chapter. “Enron’s crimes may have cost people their retirement portfolios, but Dow-Carbide’s crimes in Bhopal have cost tens of thousands of people their health and their lives. Dow-Carbide seems content to condemn the survivors of Bhopal to wallow in the contamination it left behind. We believe the fact that Dow-Carbide has not acted to stop the ongoing contamination of tens of thousands–for which it is responsible–is inhumane, unjust, and immoral.”

A complete listing of all the events can be found at http://www.studentsforbhopal.org/GDA2004.htm.

More information about the organizations can be found at www.studentsforbhopal.org, www.aidindia.org, www.campusgreens.org, and

CONTACT: Ryan Bodanyi, Students for Bhopal, (401) 829-6192
CONTACT: Nishant Jain, Association for India’s Development, (512) 422-7169

For a complete list of 20th anniversary actions around the world, please see the Global Day of Action pages on this website. Please check here for media advisories.

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