Shortly before midnight on 2 December 1984 thousands of tonnes of deadly chemicals leaked from Union Carbide’s pesticide plant in Bhopal, central India. Around half a million people were exposed. Between 7,000 and 10,000 people died in the immediate aftermath and a further 15,000 over the next 20 years.
On 2 December 2009 the people of Bhopal will mark the 25th anniversary of the devastating leak. Amnesty International will join them to highlight the ongoing human rights impacts of the 1984 leak.
Union Carbide – today a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company – walked away from Bhopal, without even decontaminating the site properly.
Despite a quarter of a century having passed the factory site has not been cleaned up. More than 100,000 people continue to suffer from health problems. Efforts to provide rehabilitation – both medical care and measures to address the socio-economic effects of the leak – have fallen far short of what is needed.
Many of those affected are still waiting for adequate compensation and the full facts of the leak and its impact have never been properly investigated. No-one has ever been held to account for what happened at Bhopal and efforts by survivors’ organizations to use the Indian and US court systems to see justice done and gain adequate redress have so far been unsuccessful.
Bhopal is not just a human rights tragedy from the last century – it is a human rights travesty today.
The Bhopal European Bus Tour (Livewire Blog)