New Meetup: Bhopal Survivors Tour

From: Laura B
Sent on: Friday, May 15, 2009 8:31 PM
Announcing a new Meetup for The Atlanta Amnesty International Chapter 75!

What: Bhopal Survivors Tour

When: May 18,[masked]:00 PM

Where: Click the link below to find out!

Meetup Description: INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR JUSTICE IN BHOPAL
Featuring Survivors Sarita Malviya & Safreen "Rafat" Khan

Background (excerpt from Global Post):
At five minutes past midnight on Dec. 3, 1984, some 30 tons of toxic chemicals spewed into the air from an insecticide factory ? then owned by Union Carbide. Within minutes, poison gas billowed over this poverty-stricken slum community while residents slept. Ahirwar, then 20 years old, and her husband hid under a blanket, only finding out what had transpired the next morning. Up to 8,000 people died over the next few weeks, and as many as 20,000 more in the subsequent months. And that was only the beginning. Unable to relocate due to poverty, residents have continued to drink contaminated water and breathe acrid-tasting air for two generations ? with horrifying consequences.

Subsequent investigations revealed that Union Carbide had not taken adequate safety precautions, and the company cut corners to reduce operation costs. Eventually, in an out-of-court settlement reached in 1989, Union Carbide agreed to pay $470 million for damages caused in the Bhopal disaster, 15 percent of the original $3 billion claimed in the lawsuit. By the end of October 2003, according to the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Department, compensation had been awarded to 554,895 people for injuries received and 15,310 survivors of those killed. The average amount to families of the dead was $2,200 ? a piddling amount that echoed an argument made by a Carbide defense lawyer: "How can one determine the damage inflicted on people who live in shacks?"

And after Union Carbide was sold to Dow Chemical in 2001, the new owners denied they were liable for the site, and have refused to clean up the area or pay additional compensation to the new victims ? now in the second and even third generation.
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The Union Carbide Chemical Disaster in Bhopal, India has killed more than 23,000 people due to a catastrophic gas leak and ongoing water contamination in this central Indian city. This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the horrific night in 1984 when a toxic cloud of methyl isocyanate enveloped the sleeping city. The Anniversary is a celebration by Bhopal survivor groups and their allies of 25 years of courage in the face of corporate crime.

Tour Speakers:
Two 16 year-old youth organizers from Bhopal, and senior activists Rachna Dingra and Satinath Sarangi, will be touring the US and Canada in this April and May. The tour is being hosted by the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal. ICJB is a coalition of survivors group and allies around the world working for justice and a life of dignity for the survivors of the Bhopal Disaster, and for a toxic free future for us all.

The Campaign for Justice:
The campaign and tour are committed to ?No More Bhopals? - exposing the great need for more effective regulation to protect marginalized communities from chemical harm. The Bhopal campaign hopes to gain North American NGO and government support for holding Union Carbide?s parent, Dow Chemical, responsible for the ongoing toxic disaster in Bhopal and cleaning it up.

Tour Details:
The Bhopal survivors? tour is a celebration of solidarity among Dow-impacted communities, coalition partners, students, and trade unions. The tour includes meetings with:
-U.S. Congressional representatives, many of whom wrote a letter to Dow asking the company to own up to its responsibilities in Bhopal last year;
-Communities disproportionally impacted toxic pollution of their air, water and soil due to their economic and racial marginalization;
-Trade union allies, who daily face the threat of job loss, union busting and hazardous chemical exposure on the job;
-Students around the U.S., some of whom have passed resolutions to stop their universities from investing in Dow Chemical or taking Dow funds until the chemical maker cleans up Bhopal.
-Chemical security advocates working to address a potential Bhopal or 9/11, in communities all over the country due to large quantities of toxic-if-inhaled chemicals stored in and transported through our communities;
-Human rights advocates, who are working to establish a new set of human rights guidelines for corporations at the United Nations and regard Dow as a poster child for human rights abuses around the world;
-Socially responsible investors who are deeply concerned about the mounting liabilities faced by Dow for creating environmental and public health disasters around the globe.

Learn more here:
http://amnestyintern.meetup.com/13/calendar/10422356/

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