Viet Nam supports AO victims’ claims for justice: spokesperson

Update: 09:05 | 05/02/2021
TGVN. Viet Nam supports Agent Orange/dioxin victims in requesting legal responsibilities from US companies producing and selling the toxic chemical used during the war in Viet Nam, stated Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang on February 4 while commenting on a French court’s acceptance of the lawsuit filed by Tran To Nga, a French Vietnamese, against 14 US chemical companies.
Vietnam supports AO victims’ claims for justice: spokesperson
Millions of AO victims' descendants are living with deformities and diseases as a direct result of the chemical’s effects.

“We believe that the companies must bear the responsibility in addressing the consequences that Agent Orange/dioxin left on Viet Nam,” said the spokesperson at the Foreign Ministry's online press conference.

Hang underlined that Viet Nam has suffered severe war aftermaths, including the long-term and devastated impacts of Agent Orange/dioxin.

Nga, born in 1942, filed the lawsuit in May 2014. Among the companies named in her suit, there are such names as Monsanto (now under the German group Bayer) and Dow Chemical.

With the support of several non-governmental organisations, Nga accused the companies of causing lasting harm to the health of her, her children and countless others, as well as destroying the environment.

Nga graduated from a Ha Noi university in 1966 and became a war correspondent of the Liberation News Agency, now the Vietnam News Agency. She worked in some of the most heavily AO/Dioxin affected areas in southern Viet Nam such as Cu Chi, Ben Cat and along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, ultimately experiencing contamination effects herself.

Among her three children, the first child died of heart defects and the second suffers from a blood disease.

On April 16, 2015, the Crown Court of Evry city held the first hearing on the case, but since then, lawyers for the chemical companies have tried every way to draw out procedures.

The trial was scheduled to open in October 2020 but was postponed due to COVID-19.

From 1961-1971, US troops sprayed more than 80 million litres of herbicides - 44 million litres of which were AO, containing nearly 370 kilograms of dioxin - over southern Viet Nam.

As a result, around 4.8 million Vietnamese were exposed to the toxic chemical. Many of the victims have died, while millions of their descendants are living with deformities and diseases as a direct result of the chemical’s effects.

Nga claims compensations for health problems.

The French court is expected to rule on the lawsuit on May 10.

If the court decides in her favour, Nga would be the first Vietnamese AO/dioxin victim to be compensated.

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(Source: VNA)