VAVA calls for UN chief to support AO victims

HANOI, 26 MAY 2006
Ha Noi (VNA) – “The pain suffered by the victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (AO) is also humanity’s pain. For this reason, the UN should be aware of this situation and take appropriate action,” said President of the Viet Nam Association of Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA) Senior Lieutenant General Dang Vu Hiep.
In a letter sent to the United Nations (UN) Secretary General Kofi Annan during the UN chief’s visit to Viet Nam from May 23-25, Hiep said that the AO toxic chemicals, the most dangerous substance known to science, have severely harmed the human health and the ecosystems of Viet Nam.
“About 4.8 million Vietnamese were exposed to dioxin, 3 million have become victims of many types of incurable diseases and thousands have died in agony,” he added.
Hiep further said “most painful is the fact that the victims’ babies, who suffer from congenital birth defects, “were, are and will be children with horrific disabilities which prevent them from enjoying even a moment of minimal happiness, that is the ability to live like an ordinary human being.”
“Many veterans of not only Viet Nam, but also the United States, the Republic of Korea (RoK), Australia and New Zealand, who participated in the Viet Nam war have also suffered diseases due to the effects of AO/dioxin”
Reffering to the International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin convened in Ha Noi on March 28-29 with the participation of delegates of victims from Viet Nam, Australia, RoK and the US and delegates of social activists from Canada, New Zealand, the UK, Germany, France, Russia and Switzerland he stressed that the meeting promulgated an appeal confirming that the US chemical companies, in their pursuit of profits, violated international law and human rights and caused enormous devastation, and that they must pay damages to their victims.
“AO/Dioxin victims in Viet Nam as well as in certain other countries are in need of the international community’s support and assistance. Thus, VAVA hopes the UN and international community would pay more attention to the victims of AO/Dioxin,” Hiep concluded.

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