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Bhopal tragedy continues to affect people: Amnesty

H S Rao in London | December 01, 2004 20:35 IST
Last Updated: December 03, 2004 16:25 IST

Global human rights body Amnesty International has asked the Indian government to prevent further damage to people's health in Bhopal as a consequence of the gas tragedy 20 years ago and ensure that Dow Chemical cleans up the site and fully compensates the victims.

It said the tragedy continues to ruin the lives of surrounding communities. The contaminated environment seriously affects basic human rights, Amnesty International said.

"A generation on, survivors are still waiting for just compensation and adequate medical care," said Benedict Southworth, campaigns director at Amnesty International.

"Union Carbide [Corporation] and Dow, which merged with UCC in 2001, have still not cleaned up the site or stopped pollution that started when the plant opened in the 1970s, meaning local residents are continuing to fall ill from drinking contaminated water."

The London-based group, in a report, explained how the UCC stored ultra-hazardous chemicals in bulk, failed to set up an emergency plan to warn local residents, ignored warnings about the possibility of a chemical reaction similar to the one that caused the leak and withheld information critical to the medical treatment of victims.

It claimed the Indian authorities failed to adequately protect their citizens both before and after the disaster. "Human rights, including people's rights to life and health, have been violated on a massive scale. A framework based on the United Nations Norms for Business could be used to hold companies accountable for their human rights impact."

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