26 June 2015 Vinuta Gopal

Interim Executive Director, Greenpeace India


Following on from an emergency meeting of Greenpeace India’s board this week to discuss the cases of sexual harassment that have come to light, the Executive Director Samit Aich has offered his resignation which the board has accepted. Programme Director Divya Raghunandan has also resigned.

Until a permanent replacement for the Executive Director post can be found, we have been appointed as interim co-Executive Directors. We’d like to thank both Samit and Divya for the huge amount of effort they have put into campaigning for a green and peaceful world, over a great many years. We also respect their decisions, and ask you do too, in what is a difficult time.

Greenpeace is an organisation that is lucky to receive support from thousands of people across India, as well as other organisations within civil society. And recently we have been deeply moved when so many of you rallied to our defence -- helping push back against the government’s crackdown on our work.

But we’ve let you down. It is not acceptable that Greenpeace India could be the kind of place where complaints of sexual harassment have not been taken with the seriousness they deserved. Every Greenpeace office, meeting, event or training must be a safe space for everyone involved in the vital campaign work we do. Issues of safety are not only in line with our values - but an issue of human rights and dignity.

Our top priority now is to rebuild trust, with our staff, our supporters, and with our friends throughout civil society. This will require honest and open dialogue among staff so we can learn from the past and grow stronger to face the challenges ahead of us. Greenpeace India is still under threat from the MHA and we can only challenge its attempts to shut us down if we have regained the trust of the people we depend on.

We have apologised unconditionally to our colleagues and we want to apologise again now -- to all of you who we’ve let down. But an apology can only go so far. In the coming weeks and months, it is our hope to show how we will work to make sure this cannot and will not happen again.

Vinuta Gopal and Sanjiv Gopal

Executive Directors, Greenpeace India