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The Chairs of UNISON Scotland’s International Committee, Sam Macartney and Health & Safety Committee, Scott Donohoe are taking part in a delegation to Bhopal, India, to mark the 30th anniversary on 3rd December 2014 of the industrial disaster that has killed 25,000, left 120,000 chronically ill and continues to maim subsequent generations.
Sam said: "The UNISON delegation supports
the Bhopal Medical Appeal as part of UNISON's ongoing commitment
to international issues around the world.
How you can help
Sam and Scott are urging Scottish branches
to undertake the following steps in order to help mark the
anniversary, advance the campaign and keep the fight alive
for decent health and safety here:
If someone in your Branch would like to get involved in ongoing campaigning around Bhopal then please encourage them to hook up with University & Colleges Union activist Eurig Scandrett at 07539 305176 or EScandrett@qmu.ac.uk .
Updates from delegation
Sam Macartney and Scott Donohoe will be in Bhopal, India, to mark the anniversary of the disaster on 3rd December 2014. They are posting updates here during their visit.
Bhopal: Terrible hardship but incredible courage and kindness
Wednesday 3 December update from Sam Macartney: This is the day 30 years ago when the Union Carbide industrial disaster claimed 25,000 lives, left 120,000 chronically ill and continues to maim subsequent generations.
The anniversary rally took place along with a march by all the families and supporters to the Bhopal plant walls.
An excellent rally was planned and policed by the Bhopal group and supporters and this was achieved with little or no police or army presence.
It was a very hot day and water was provided at many places along the route. The rally at the wall then burned effigies of Dow and Union Carbide.
Later the screening took place of a new movie about the disaster called 'A Prayer for Rain', featuring Martin Sheen. Many of the survivors and their families attended, some having never set foot in a cinema before.
I was very moved by the fragile condition of many, yet they came and sat through an event that must have brought back horrific memories to them all.
During my time here I have witnessed some terrible hardship and deprivation. But also some incredible courage and kindness.
Torchlight march and Bhopal Disaster Museum
Tuesday 2 December update from Sam and Scott: Tuesday began with a national solidarity meeting with families and NGOs who support the campaign.
Then a visit to the workplace of the women who have taken the nfight to the courts and the Indian government. They have their own trade union now but they still haven't received justice for the disaster.
Next we visited the new Bhopal People's Disaster Museum. This is a tribute to those that lost their lives and those who are still suffering. It was very harrowing but very moving.
Then we joined with families, activists and campaigners on a torchlight rally to the old factory walls. This was incredible. Real torches steeped in paraffin were carried through the city for about two miles.
The torches were kept alight during the march by men refilling these wood and metal torches with fuel.
In the darkness this was a fantastic sight but I can't see this catching on in Scotland due to health and safety concerns (that's a real shame).
Finally, the hunger fast starts at midnight tonight for 30 hours signifying one hour for every year that has passed since the disaster caused by Union Carbide.
Fasting in solidarity with Bhopal families
Tuesday 2 December: UNISON's Sam Macartney will be joining friends and families of the Bhopal disaster on a 30 hour hunger fast from midnight on Tuesday to 6.00am on Thursday. "It is the least I can do after what we have seen", reported Sam.
Clearly moved, Scott Donohoe commented: "The levels of poverty in Bhopal are truly shocking."
UNISON Scotland's Sam Macartney and Scott Donohoe are part of a trade union delegation to Bhopal to mark the 30th anniversary of the Union Carbide disaster that killed 25,000, left 120,000 chronically ill and continues to maim subsequent generations.
Yesterday they took part in a demonstration after being shown around the Bhopal Sambhavna medical aid clinic and the great facilities they have and the excellent work they are doing to support the victims of their families.
The facility also includes a clinic for children who have been poisoned by Union Carbide. The clinic (Chingari) rehab clinic supports over 200 children who have suffered due to the poison from the chemical spill from the Bhopal plant. Since its inception in 2006, Chingari, founded by gas victims Rashida Bee and Champa Devi Shukla, has helped 740 children and grandchildren of gas victims. (The Hindu newspaper)
Sam and Scott are sending regular updates but are having some technical communication problems. Scott Donohoe hopes to get more pictures to us when he gets to Mumbai.
More news about the delegation
Medical Appeal (pdf) - information on the delegation,
campaign demands and how you can help
Support the Bhopal Medical Appeal
Monday 1 December 6.30pm from Sam Macartney: Yes I was on a demo in India, and I and all the trade union delegates to Bhopal were honoured and and very pleased to walk with families and friends of the Bhopal campaign.
We had joined the demo after being shown around the Bhopal Sambhavna medical aid clinic and the great facilities they have and the excellent work they are doing to support the victims of their families.
The facility also includes a clinic for children who have been poisoned by Union Carbide. The clinic (Chingari) rehab clinic supports over 200 children who have suffered due to the poison from the chemical spill from the Bhopal plant.
They offer help and support with support and funding from the Bhopal medical aid campaign it is so very important that this aid continues for all concerned. You can donate to the Bhopal Medical Appeal by clicking here
More information about the Chingari Trust http://bhopal.org/30th-anniversary-press-release-from-the-chingari-trust/
And about Sambhavna http://bhopal.org/category/from-sambhavna/
Further reports will follow.