Statement: The Bhopal Medical Appeal, the London Olympics and Dow Chemical

Dow sponsorship of London 2012 Olympics

The sole objective of the Bhopal Medical Appeal has been, since our beginnings in 1994, to help alleviate the suffering of the tens of thousands of innocent people maimed by exposure to toxins released from Union Carbide’s former pesticides factory.

Money given by our generous and remarkable supporters enabled the opening of the Sambhavna Clinic in 1996. Sambhavna was the first enduring example of rational and appropriate medical care in the city, and has treated some 40,000 people since, garnering numerous awards along the way. Since 2008, together with our donors we have also supported the Chingari Trust, which gives ground breaking support, treatment and rehabilitation to hundreds of women and children affected by Union Carbide’s two disasters in Bhopal.

Beginning in August 2011, The Bhopal Medical Appeal has also been involved with efforts to highlight the profoundly inappropriate nature of Dow Chemical’s sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

We do not see a distinction between this activity and our primary focus on medical research, monitoring and long term medical care of Bhopal’s survivors.

Union Carbide Corporation and its owner Dow Chemical are responsible for the dire medical and environmental situation in Bhopal, which their intransigence prolongs and extends. Only Dow and Union Carbide can make proper restitution to the over 570,000 people affected by their business activities. Only by their meeting this responsibility fully can other businesses be properly deterred from profoundly impacting the health and well being of as yet unharmed communities.

Dow Chemical’s Olympic sponsorship legitimises its abnegation of responsibility for the health and well-being of Bhopal, thereby perpetuating the denial of basic rights to thousands of suffering people.

We celebrate the Olympics, their ancient sanctity and nobility of spirit. We salute the Games that unite us all in delight at the health, strength, beauty and grace of the young contestants from around the world. All of these things the association with Dow therefore debases and disgraces.

The experience of Bhopal’s survivors teaches us that public health and human rights are not assured, and sometimes must be fought for. The Bhopal Medical Appeal shall continue to speak out until the Dow Chemical Company meets its moral and legal responsibilities to Bhopal.

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We believe Dow & DuPont must finally accept responsibility for Bhopal. Until then, The Bhopal Medical Appeal funds two award-winning clinics in the city. Both offer free, first-class care to victims of the gas disaster or the ongoing water contamination. The survivors have nowhere else left to turn – please help if you can.