For Immediate Release
December 3, 2014
Contact: Paul Towers, 916-216-1082, firstname.lastname@example.org
30 years later, still no justice for Bhopal
Today marks the 30th anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster, the deadly gas leak from a Union Carbide pesticide manufacturing facility that has since claimed at least 20,000 lives in the city of Bhopal, India.
At five past midnight on Dec 3, 1984, as the gas escaped from the factory and spread over the city, families woke up with burning eyes and throats. 8,000 were dead in the first 3 days and now, decades later, 150,000 people are still battling chronic illnesses ranging from skin diseases and vision impairment to cancer, and children are being born with disabilities.
Devika Ghai, organizer for Pesticide Action Network North America, was present in Bhopal this week to participate in international solidarity events that mark the 30th anniversary of the disaster. She released the following statement:
"Thirty years after one of the greatest corporate crimes ever committed, it is clearer than ever that our systems are not set up to hold multinational corporations accountable for human rights violations, and our governments are not interested in change. It has been left up to the people to fight for corporate accountability, and the people of Bhopal are an inspiration to us all. Mothers who lost their children tell us through their tears that they are more committed than ever to the fight for justice, and we at PAN will stand by them as long as it will take to get there.
To date, none of the senior leadership of Dow Chemical (which wholly owns Union Carbide) have been tried in court or otherwise held accountable for this egregious loss of life, even though internal memos show that they were well aware that safety systems at the factory were far below adequate. Instead, Dow Chemical has escaped accountability to become one of the six largest pesticide companies in the world, while the poor of Bhopal continue to fight for their basic needs, including clean up of the toxic waste, adequate healthcare, clean water, fair compensation, and most importantly, corporate accountability.
I am proud to be here in Bhopal with my colleagues from PAN India and PAN Asia Pacific, in solidarity with this amazingly fierce and resilient community. As they say, 'ladenge, jeetenge!' (We will fight, we will win!)"