MOSCOW, November 7 (RIA Novosti) – American actor Martin Sheen will join the campaign to charge US corporation Union Carbide and its parent company Dow Chemical with responsibility for the gas leak in the Indian city of Bhopal in 1984, Amnesty International announced on Friday.
"This was not an unavoidable accident. There is evidence that the companies responsible for the factory site failed to take adequate precautions both before and after the leak," Sheen said in a statement for Amnesty International.
As the 30th anniversary of tragic event approaches, the pressure on Union Carbide and Dow Chemical to be held accountable increases, Amnesty International reports.
Union Carbide has been evading the charges in India for more than three decades. Dow Chemical, which acquired Union Carbide in 1999, has denied any responsibility for the Bhopal gas leak and has disregarded repeated orders to appear before the Indian court.
A new court hearing over Union Carbide's ignoring criminal charges is scheduled on November 12.
The release of the historical drama "Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain", starring Martin Sheen, Mischa Barton and Kal Penn will coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster. Martin Sheen plays the role of chief executive of Union Carbide, the company responsible for the methyl isocyanate gas release which caused the industrial disaster at the company's factory in Bhopal.
"Those who survived have faced long-term health problems, but receive little medical help. For 30 years the survivors of Bhopal have campaigned for justice, for fair compensation, health care and for Union Carbide, now owned by Dow Chemical, to be held to account," Sheen said.
Amnesty International estimates that 22,000 people died as an immediate result of the toxic gas leak from the Union Carbide factory in the Indian city of Bhopal in December, 1984. The human rights organization also estimates over 570,000 people continue to suffer long-term health problems from exposure to the toxic gas.