Daily News Archives
From April 20, 2005

Over 1000 Amnesty International Students Protest Dow and India
(Beyond Pesticides, April 20, 2005)
More than one thousand high school and college students traveled to New York last Friday to protest human rights abuses in three countries. India was one of the three targets due to its abandonment of the victims of the 1984 Bhopal disaster.

Demonstrations took place in front of the Indian consulate in New York where students demanded that the Indian government and Dow Chemical provide fair and just compensation to the victims of the Bhopal disaster, considered the largest human rights disaster arising from corporate negligence in the world. In solidarity, students organized delegations to visit Houston, and Washington DC Indian consulate offices and call in/fax actions in San Francisco and New Delhi, India. In Chicago and Chennia, India supporters held parallel events the following days.

Twenty years after the Union Carbide (later sold to Dow Chemical Company) disaster in Bhopal, India, thousands of people around the city remain at risk of poisoning, according to an investigation by the BBC. The 1984 blast and toxic gas leak at a Union Carbide factory disaster led to the deaths of more than 20,000 people, and more than 120,000 people still suffer from severe health problems as a result of their exposure. Drinking water taken from a well near the site recently showed contamination 500 times greater than limits set by the World Health Organization.

Actions also took place at the Jamaican consulate to protest sodomy laws and homophobic violence and the Chinese consulate to call for the release of political prisoners such as Buddhist monk Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche.

The day of action was the tenth annual “Get On the Bus” event, one of Amnesty International’s largest entirely volunteer-led events. Speakers included Gary Cohen, executive director of the Environmental Health Fund, and Larry Chang, founding member of the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals & Gays (J-FLAG).

TAKE ACTION: To learn more about Bhopal and how to get involved, visit www.bhopal.net. For information on how you can hold Dow Chemical accountable for its actions, see the Beyond Pesticides The Safer Choice brochure and booklet, or contact Diana Ruiz, US Coordinator of the Bhopal Campaign and Dow Accountability Project.