An online petition on the White House website has called on the Obama administration to stop shielding American multinational Dow Chemical from accountability for corporate crimes in the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy case.
The petition has crossed the threshold of one lakh signatures, making it mandatory for the White House to respond.
Titled ‘Uphold International Law! Stop Shielding Dow Chemical from Accountability for Corporate Crimes in Bhopal, India’, the petition dated May 15, says that the more than three decades of protection to Union Carbide (UCC) -- which is now owned by Dow Chemicals -- must end.
“We insist that the US government meet its obligations under Treaty and international law by immediately serving notice upon Dow to attend court in Bhopal on July 13, 2016,” said the petition, which as of June 12 had garnered 102,000 signatures.
Tonnes of toxic Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked from Union Carbide’s Bhopal factory on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984, killed nearly 25,000 people and injured half million others.
“India charged UCC with manslaughter, but UCC refused to show for trial. Dow Chemical bought UCC in 2001 but has not made UCC available to face charges,” the petition said.
“Under a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, India sent four notices to the US Department of Justice to summon Dow to explain UCC’s whereabouts. The DoJ has ignored or obstructed every notice. The same DoJ made BP pay USD 4 billion in criminal fines and penalties for Deepwater Horizon. 31 years of US protection of UCC and Dow must end,” the petition said.