Friendship societies protest US court’s AO decision

Vietnamese friendship societies issued a joint statement on March 6, voicing their protest against the US Supreme Court’s decision to reject a Vietnamese Agent Orange /dioxin victims’ petition against the US companies responsible for the production of AO/dioxin chemicals that were used in Vietnam during the war between the two nations.

Among the signatories of the statement were the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations, the Vietnam-US Society, the Vietnam Peace Committee, the Vietnam Fund for Peace and Development, and organisations representing solidarity and friendship between the Vietnamese and overseas groups.

They described the US Supreme Court’s March 2 decision as “an erroneous, unjust and amoral one”, while demonstrating their support for the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin (VAVA)’s statement denouncing the US Supreme Court’s irrational and inhumane decision.

“We wholeheartedly support the determination of the Vietnamese AO victims to maintain their struggle for justice, in both the courts and the public opinion front,” said the statement.

They called on all organisations and pacifists across the world to voice their solidarity, support and assistance to lend more weight to the Vietnamese AO victims’ battle for justice.

“We call on the US administration to accept its responsibility to resolve the consequences of war in Vietnam, including the residual effects of toxic chemicals sprayed by the US troops,” they said, noting that “justice must be granted to Vietnamese AO victims.”

Between 1961 and 1971, the US army sprayed about 80 million litres of toxic chemicals, mainly Agent Orange, containing almost 336 kilograms of dioxins, over Vietnam. Consequently, approximately 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to the deadly toxic chemical, and more than 3 million of them still suffer from the effects of Agent Orange.

The US chemical manufacturers accepted the deadly effects of Agent Orange/dioxin in 1984 and paid US war veterans US$180 million in compensation for their exposure to AO/dioxins.

In 1996, the US Government acknowledged the harmful effects of AO/dioxins, sending apologies and granting subsidies worth billions of US$ to US war veterans who had been exposed to AO/dioxins.

Scientific research by Vietnamese, American and international scientists has proved that the toxic chemicals used by the US troop have had a detrimental effect on the health of not only those who were directly exposed to these chemicals, but their offspring too.

According to several epidemiological studies on the consequences of dioxins, jointly conducted by Vietnamese and Japanese scientists, dioxin-related diseases identified by the US National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine have also been discovered in Vietnamese AO/dioxin victims.

(VNA) 07. März 2009