World Economic Forum 2005: Taking Responsibility for Tough Choices?

Press release - 27 January, 2005
As the most powerful and influential exponents of the economic world gather together in a new edition of the World Economic Forum (WEF), under the slogan "Taking Responsibility for Tough Choices", Greenpeace activists showed the world that, at least one major multinational company, DOW Chemical, is far from being responsible and trust worthy.

Greenpeace activists dressed in dead skeleton suits protest in front of the World Economic Forum conference building. The action is carried out to denounce DOW Chemicals, one of the members of the WEF and responsible for the 20 years of suffering of the victims of the world's worst chemical disaster in Bhopal.

Despite intense military safety precautions, 60 Greenpeace activists succeeded in carrying out a protest in front of the entrance of the Davos Congress Centre against DOW's refusal to pay compensation and clear up the affected area in Bhopal.

Matthias Wuthrich, of Greenpeace, commented on the WEF slogan 'Taking Responsibility for Tough Choices' saying: "DOW should dare to make the tough choice and take full responsibility for the Bhopal disaster. After 20 years of suffering, the least they can do is to take action for the ongoing tragedy in Bhopal".

The activists lay on the street, dressed in dead skeleton suits that testified for the over 20,000 victims who died due to the world's worst chemical disaster in Bhopal, India from 1984 till today. Crosses were stamped with the Dow Logo and the label "DOW! Clean UP Bhopal NOW!" demanding DOW to take heed of their responsibility and to clear debts for Bhopal, for which they still deny liability in spite of world-wide protests.

Rachna Dhingra, representative of the Survivors' Organizations of the Bhopal Disaster, said that "people in Bhopal are still dying and suffering because the disaster in Bhopal persists 20 years later. DOW's behaviour in Bhopal shows just how irresponsible companies can be. Bhopal has become an icon of a corporate crime. DOW has to clean up Bhopal NOW! ".

On 26 January 2005, DOW was given the first-ever Violations of Human Rights Award by the WEF Protest Event "Public Eye on Davos". Greenpeace Switzerland nominated the US Company on behalf of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal.

Thousands of people still suffer from the consequences of the chemical disaster, for which the American multinational is not ready to take responsibility.

At the World Social forum in Porto Alegre, the Bhopal case will be discussed during sessions and seminars on Corporate responsibility that Greenpeace is organising, as this case is an icon of a corporate crime and shows the necessity of an international set of rules for corporate responsibility and liability for damage.

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future.