International representatives support Vietnamese AO/dioxin victims

Victims of Agent Orange (AO) and other toxic chemicals demanded US chemical companies pay compensation in an international appeal released at the end of a two-day conference on the effects of AO/dioxin in Ha Noi.

"We, victims of AO/dioxin and our supporters, affirm our commitment to working in solidarity, regardless of race or political belief, and demand that the US chemical companies pay compensation equal to their liability, as stipulated by law," said the appeal of the International Conference of Victims of AO/dioxin (ICVA).

The appeal concluded that chemicals containing high levels of dioxin, which were used by the US Military in the Viet Nam War, were utterly lethal substances. Those toxic chemicals destroyed millions of acres of forests, causing natural disasters such as flood and drought, and damaging human life and the health of those exposed to them.

The appeal said that Vietnamese AO/dioxin victims have suffered a variety of serious diseases, especially reproductive problems experienced by many female victims and congenital malformation suffered by many newborn children.

"For the above-said reasons, victims of AO/dioxin and their families are among the poorest and most unhappy of society," said the appeal.

Participants at the conference urged governments, international and national organizations, and non-government organizations to provide material and spiritual support for victims of AO/dioxin in Viet Nam and help the country overcome the heavy aftermath of the toxic chemical.

They also called upon governments of Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the United States to adopt appropriate policies towards victims of their respective countries, and demanded the US government be held responsible for contributions toward overcoming the consequences of toxic chemicals.

Dang Vu Hiep, Chairman of the Viet Nam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA), in his closing remarks, expressed hope that after this conference, the participants will continue exchanging information and keeping contact with each other in a spirit of solidarity in order to raise a campaign in their countries and in the entire world for the sake of AO/dioxin victims, and support victims' struggle for justice.

On the sidelines of the conference, the delegates, who are AO/dioxin victims, scientists and representatives of foreign socio-political organizations, paid a visit to the International Friendship Village in the nearby province of Ha Tay, where more than 120 AO/dioxin affected children are under medical treatment.

(Appeal of Hanoi International Conference o­n Victims of AO/dioxin)
According Vietnam News Agency