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1 Jul 2012

Surya Deva, associate professor School of Law, City University of Hong Kong

Corporate human rights accountability in India: What have we learned from Bhopal?

Twenty-seven years on, Bhopal continues to be a living example of corporate impunity for human rights violations...What lessons, if any, should India (and the global community) have learned from Bhopal? [T]he challenges posed by Bhopal: lack of clear human rights obligations of companies, liability of a parent company for the conduct of its subsidiaries, the misuse of the doctrine of forum non conveniens, and the unwillingness or incapacity of states to vigorously pursue multinational corporations...One important lesson that a developing country like India should have learned is to ensure that the pursuit of economic development does not create undue risk to the realisation of human rights. However, the Indian Government still seems to pursue policies of economic development at the cost of human rights...[Refers to Dow Chemical, Posco, Union Carbide]