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30 Jun 2010

Salil Tripathi, Institute for Human Rights and Business

Responsibilities Beyond Borders

Efforts to stop the biggest environmental disaster in US history continue in the Gulf of Mexico with few signs of progress...Many have praised President Obama’s response to the BP disaster. Yet few have noted how markedly different it was from the way the US State Department reacted in June when an Indian court found that seven officials connected with the Indian subsidiary of...Union Carbide [now part of Dow] guilty of negligence following a December 1984 industrial accident in Bhopal...Just as President Obama aggressively took on BP, getting it to set aside a fund to pay for the environmental damage, the Indian Government in 1984 could have – and should have – played hardball with Union Carbide. It did not...Applying laws extraterritorially is never easy...Holding companies accountable for their misconduct, wherever the misconduct occurs, must become a priority, if we are not to have more Bhopals.