Feb 24 2014 by Bhopal Medical Appeal
On 27 February 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered “global intelligence” company Stratfor. The emails revealed, amongst other things, that Dow Chemical were using Stratfor to spy on the Bhopal justice campaign and on us, the Bhopal Medical Appeal. In fact, we had long suspected that we were being subjected to some kind of surveillance but this was the first time we ever had concrete proof. The unexpected bonus was that, thanks to the timing of the revelations, our campaign opposing Dow Chemical’s sponsorship of the London Olympics was given an enormous global boost.
Jeremy Hamond was amongst those who took a massive personal risk to reveal this information and In November 2012, after being held for eight months without trial, he was denied bail and warned that he could face life imprisonment for the Stratfor leaks. After pleading guilty to one count of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, he was sentenced on November 15, 2013, to the maximum of ten years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
Below is a statement of solidarity from Jeremy Hammond from his prison cell at FCI Manchester, Kentucky.
MESSAGE OF SOLIDARITY WITH BHOPAL SURVIVORS:
Rebel greetings! I want to voice full support for the survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster in their struggle for justice against Dow, a multinational corporation that continues to do everything they can to avoid taking responsibility.
Two years ago I hacked the intelligence company Stratfor and handed over all of their private email correspondence to WikiLeaks for publishing. Amongst the revelations was proof that Dow hired Stratfor to monitor the activities of Bhopal survivor activist groups.
To add further insult to injury, Dow is now suing dozens of these activist groups for 25 million Indian rupees!
This shows how profiteering multinational corporations like Dow will abuse the courts and influence international conventions so that they can continue to attack worker conditions, fair wages and environmental regulations. The UN, of which Dow sits as a Foundation member, has turned a blind eye to this human rights disaster for 30 years.
Justice will not be found in their courts so we must bring it to them in the streets. Dow’s recent tactics of desperation shows how they are worried that these activists are succeeding in bringing attention to their crimes. We must continue to expose and confront Dow!
Feb 20 2014 by Bhopal Medical Appeal
On the occasion of the United Nations Social Justice Day (February 20th), the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB) has launched a year-long United Nations campaign. The Bhopal gas disaster has reached its 30th year, and has gotten significantly worse for the affected communities.
(1) Why the United Nations has been silent on the ongoing plight of the victims of the Bhopal gas disaster, and;
(2) Why it has chosen to partner with the Dow Chemical Company, which in purchasing the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), has inherited the legal liabilities of the Bhopal gas disaster.
Finally, we ask that UN agencies be involved in easing the plight of survivors, and specifically for technical assistance from UNEP for the scientific assessment of the contamination of soil and groundwater in and around Union Carbide’s abandoned factory in Bhopal, India.
Friends of ICJB delivered this letter on February 20th to the United Nations headquarters in New Delhi and New York.
Please ask the United Nations (via twitter, Facebook, e-mail) – “United Nations, 30 years later, Bhopal is still waiting. Take action on the Bhopal gas disaster now!”
The text of the letter, delivered to Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations Organisation, is as follows:
On behalf of five organizations of the survivors of the December 1984 Union Carbide gas leak in Bhopal, India, we are writing to you for assistance by different UN agencies to help rebuild the city devastated by the world’s worst industrial disaster.
This is the year of the 30th anniversary of the disaster in Bhopal. Hundreds of people are still dying every year from the poisons they inhaled little past midnight of December 3, 1984. Today in Bhopal close to 150, 000 people are battling chronic illnesses and tens of thousands of children born after the disaster suffer growth and development disorders. Union Carbide continues to withhold medical information on leaked gases as “trade secrets” and the appropriate medical treatment for exposure induced illnesses remain to be available to the chronically ill survivors.
While Union Carbide was taken over by The Dow Chemical Company in 2001, its pesticide factory lies abandoned in Bhopal. The Indian government’s scientific agency has recently reported toxic chemicals and heavy metals in groundwater as far as 3 kilometres from the factory. These poisons are leaching from recklessly dumped hazardous waste and are endangering the health of 50 thousand neighbourhood residents who have drunk the local groundwater for over two decades. A comprehensive scientific assessment of the depth and spread of Dow Chemical’s contaminants, essential for designing interventions for environmental remediation, remains to be carried out.
Through this letter we urge you to direct different UN agencies to take stock of the ongoing disasters in Bhopal with a view to providing technical assistance in the areas of health care, medical research and environmental assessment.
In particular we look forward to assistance from WHO in developing effective treatment protocols for disaster related illnesses, from UNEP in scientific assessment of the environmental damage wrought by Union Carbide and now Dow Chemical and from United Nations Human Rights Council for the production of a report on the ongoing human rights violations in Bhopal due to the acts of omission and commission by the two US corporations.
Further we call upon you to terminate the membership of The Dow Chemical Company, USA in the United Nations Foundation in view of its continuing violation of the human rights of the people of Bhopal through denial of toxic clean up in and around the abandoned Union Carbide factory.
We enclose a brief fact sheet on the current situation in Bhopal and with regard to the US corporations. We will be happy to send you additional information that you may need before taking any decision on these urgent matters.
We hope that the UN will provide much needed assistance to the survivors of Bhopal and drop Dow Chemical as its “Partner” before the disaster enters its fourth decade this December.
Feb 18 2014 by Bhopal Medical Appeal
Press Statement released by combined organisations fighting for rights of those affected by Union Carbide’s poisons in Bhopal
February 17, 2014
Hundreds of residents of the area around the abandoned Union Carbide factory in Bhopal today demonstrated at the Directorate of Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation demanding free medical care and rehabilitation, adequate supply of clean drinking water at minimum cost and effective drainage system in their area.
The demonstration was led by five organizations of the city that are working for the welfare of the survivors of the December 1984 gas leak from the Union Carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal. Leaders of the organizations handed over a memorandum with their four demands to the Commissioner, Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation during the three hour long demonstration that included a photo exhibition on the problems of toxic pollution.
The organizations said that the Madhya Pradesh government’s Public Health & Engineering Department had declared the ground water near the Union Carbide factory to be chemically polluted as early as 1991.In 2006, the Centre for Rehabilitation Studies, a scientific agency of the state government had highlighted that in comparison to an unexposed population, the residents of the communities affected by contamination of ground-water had higher incidence of illnesses of the lungs, eyes, gastro-intestinal system and skin.
the organizations stated that as per the latest report of the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, Lucknow of January 2013, about 50 thousand people in 22 communities were affected by the contamination of ground-water due to hazardous waste from the Union Carbide factory.
The residents demanded free medical care at the hospitals meant for gas victims for the illnesses caused by chronic exposure to Union Carbide’s poisons in their drinking water. They also demanded free facilities for medical rehabilitation of the hundreds of children who were being born with disabilities as a consequence of the slow poisoning of their parents.
The organizations complained that despite several orders of the Supreme Court of India, the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Department of the state government had failed to complete the project of supplying clean drinking water through pipelines to every family affected by toxic contamination.
They complained that 60 families in Annu Nagar, 15 in Shankar Nagar and 5 families in Shiv Nagar did not have tap connections and hundreds of families in Jayprakash Nagar, Karim Baksh Colony, Shakti Nagar, Kainchi Chhola and Shiv Nagar were not being supplied with water in the newly connected taps. Likewise in hundreds of homes in Jayprakash Nagar, Kainchi Chhola, Preet Nagar, Shiv Nagar and Shakti Nagar, the water pressure is so low that people do not have adequate amount of water for their basic needs.
The organizations pointed out that families in the area affected by contamination of ground water due to Union Carbide’s hazardous wastes are being served with bills worth thousands of rupees as payment for water supply. They said that the state government that was aware of the toxic contamination as early as 1991 must accept its role in the ongoing environmental disaster and ensure that beneficiaries of clean water supply are made to pay only the minimum amount of Rs.30 per month.
The residents complained that because of the absence of drainage facilities areas like Nawab Colony, Blue Moon Colony, Annu Nagar, Sundar Nagar, Shiv Shakti Nagar, Preet Nagar and Shiv Nagar remained waterlogged causing a public health problem due to malaria and other diseases. They demanded that state government make arrangements for adequate drainage as per the recommendation of the Supreme Court appointed Monitoring Committee led by Justice K.K. Lahoti.
Photos: (c) Sanjay Verma 2014
Feb 11 2014 by Bhopal Medical Appeal
The Bhopal Facing 30 project has now come to a conclusion; the portraits are finished and the studio, in the Nawab Colony, has been dissembled. Now we’re all very much looking forward to seeing the finished work.
See more here: #BhopalFacing30
Image copyright Lorenza Ippolito & Francesca Moore 2014
Feb 10 2014 by Bhopal Medical Appeal
Digital Journal reports that Bhopal activists are being sued by Dow in India. the journal reports that: Dow is seeking about $400,000 in the suit against the activists. In 2002, a similar suit was filed for $10,000 for “loss of work” relating to a two-hour demonstration outside the company’s office.
Read story here
A social media campaign has been launched on Twitter to protest the lawsuit:
Feb 6 2014 by Bhopal Medical Appeal
Residents of slums close to the factory gather water which is heavily contaminated with heavy metals and toxins. Photo by David Graham
On January 29th the plaintiffs in a lawsuit, in the court of the Southern District of New York, released new evidence demonstrating the Union Carbide Corporations direct role in designing and building the Bhopal pesticide plant, site of the world’s worst industrial disaster. Previously, Union Carbide had claimed that Union Carbide India Ltd were responsible for the design of the plant and had a previous class action law suit dismissed by the same court.
Campaigners hope that this may now pave the way toward clarification of Union Carbide’s role and that, should culpability be established, then the longstanding water contamination disaster might finally come to its conclusion-saving thousands of people from further toxic exposure.
The ‘Sahu II’ federal class-action lawsuit is No. 07 Civ 2156 in the Southern District of New York. In addition to EarthRights International and Sharma & Deyoung LLP, the plaintiffs are represented by the Law Offices of Curtis V. Trinko.
Text from EarthRights International & Sharma & Deyoung LLP press release below:
New evidence shows Union Carbide’s role in designing and building Indian chemical plant that killed thousands and continues to pollute Bhopal’s water
Government of Indian state now named as a party in New York suit by Bhopal residents
January 29, 2014, New York: Plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Union Carbide Corp. released new evidence that demonstrates the chemical company’s direct role in designing and building the pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, that caused the world’s worst modern industrial disaster and continues to pollute residents’ water with toxins. Union Carbide, now a Dow Chemical subsidiary, refuses to clean up the site, claiming that its former Indian subsidiary bears sole responsibility. The victims have recently also sued the Indian State of Madhya Pradesh, (which leased the land on which the Bhopal plant was built), for the purpose of permitting cleanup of the contaminated site which has polluted the drinking water supply of nearby residential areas.
The new evidence, consisting of statements from former Union Carbide and Union Carbide India employees, as well as evaluations by experts in waste disposal systems, establishes that UCC provided critical design for the plant and its waste management system and that this design caused the ongoing toxic waste problem in Bhopal. Plaintiffs’ evidence also shows that it was a Union Carbide employee that oversaw and approved construction and design implementing Union Carbide’s plan for the Bhopal plant. A deadly gas leak from the Bhopal plant in 1984 killed several thousand people, and injured many thousands more.
This evidence was submitted in court in January in Sahu II v. Union Carbide Corp., a federal class-action lawsuit filed by residents of Bhopal whose land and water remain contaminated by waste from the chemical plant. A previous lawsuit, Sahu I, was dismissed last year after the courts found insufficient evidence that Union Carbide was sufficiently involved in creating the toxic waste.
“This evidence demonstrates that Union Carbide was intimately involved in every aspect of designing and building the Bhopal plant, including the waste disposal systems,” said Rick Herz, counsel for the plaintiffs and Litigation Coordinator for EarthRights International. Co-counsel Rajan Sharma, of the New York law firm Sharma & Deyoung, added, “These families have been living with Union Carbide pollution for decades and they deserve justice. Union Carbide refuses to submit to the jurisdiction of India’s courts and asserts that American courts may not grant relief without the participation of the Indian government.”
The plaintiffs have also sued the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, which now owns the Bhopal site, to compel its cooperation in the cleanup of the contamination. As of today, neither the Government of India nor the State of Madhya Pradesh has appeared before the court.
The Sahu II lawsuit is No. 07 Civ 2156 in the Southern District of New York. In addition to EarthRights International and Sharma & Deyoung LLP, the plaintiffs are represented by the Law Offices of Curtis V. Trinko.
EarthRights International is a NGO with offices in the United States, Thailand, and Peru specializing in protecting human rights and the environment, and corporate and government accountability. More information on ERI is available at http://www.earthrights.org.
Contact: Rick Herz, (202) 466-5188 x114, firstname.lastname@example.org
Raj Sharma, (212) 856-7236, email@example.com
Rachna Dhingra: 9826167369, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Jan 31 2014 by Bhopal Medical Appeal
Francesca Moore’s Arts Coucil funded project BhopalFacing30 has now started in earnest with the first week’s worth of portraits being shot.
Read about the trials and tribulations she’s endured, just to get her studio up and running, and the excitement the project has generated in the communities on her blog here:
Image © Francesca Moore