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article imageBhopal activists demonstrate at United Nations buildings Special

By Justin King     Feb 20, 2014 in World
New Delhi - Activists demonstrated at the United Nations office in New Delhi today in support of the survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas leak and delivered a letter intended for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
The letter calls for assistance in dealing with the fallout from the gas leak, which killed around 15,000. It also asks the United Nations to remove the Dow Chemical Company from the list of partner organizations of the United Nations Foundation because 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.
Dow purchased Union Carbide after the Bhopal incident. It has been 30 years since the gas leak, and the contamination still persists.
Reena Shadaan of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal said
The Bhopal gas disaster crosses borders. It is as much an Indian problem as it is an American problem, and its lessons are relevant globally. It is time for the agencies of the United Nations to end their silence and take action to end the multigenerational disaster that is Bhopal, as well as the many other Bhopal-like disasters taking place globally.
A flyer from the protest outside the United Nations in support of Bhopal disaster survivors.
A flyer from the protest outside the United Nations in support of Bhopal disaster survivors.
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal
A second copy of the letter was delivered to the UN headquarters in the New York City. Digital Journal obtained a copy of the letter. Signatories names and contact details were omitted.
The letter
To, The Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Organization
1st Ave. and 46th street
New York, NY 10017 USA
February 20, 2014
Sub: 30th Anniversary Appeal from Survivors of the Union Carbide Disaster in Bhopal, India.
Dear Sir,
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.
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