Vietnamese French woman Tran To Nga speaks at the meeting (Photo: VNA)
Receiving the organization's representatives on October 2, Thang expressed his admiration for the determination and courage of Nga who has persistently pursued the lawsuit against US companies that had manufactured the toxic AO defoliant used by US forces during the war in Vietnam.
He informed Collectif Vietnam Dioxine about efforts the Vietnamese State and people are making to alleviate the physical and mental pains of Vietnamese AO/dioxin victims.
Every year, the Vietnamese State spends about EUR400 million (US$463.7 million) on the care, support and vocational training for the victims.
In 2019, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development decided to remove glyphosate from the list of phytosanitary products allowed to circulate in Vietnam, which is considered a responsible action of the Vietnamese government with a hope to put public health above economic and commercial issues. In addition, decontamination at sites severely polluted by dioxin such as Bien Hoa and Da Nang airports has also been implemented effectively with the support of the US government, according to the diplomat.
The ambassador called on Collectif Vietnam Dioxine members to continue to take practical and concrete actions to help and support AO/dioxin victims in the coming time. He also pledged to always stand side by side with them in the fight for justice and rights for the AO/dioxin victims in Vietnam.
At the meeting, Nga expressed her gratitude for the sentiments and support of French friends and Vietnamese people around the world, which, she said, has motivated her to continue fight till her last breath.
Vo Dinh Kim, coordinator of Collectif Vietnam Dioxine, affirmed that the organization will continue to organize dissemination activities about Agent Orange, and call for help for victims as well as support for Nga's lawsuit.
The organization has sent a written request to the French government calling for an official day to commemorate AO/dioxin victims, he added.
Set up in 2004, Collectif Vietnam Dioxine is a non-governmental organization, bringing together nearly 20 associations and delegations of Vietnamese people in France and French friends, including the Association of Vietnamese People in France (UGVF), Union of Vietnamese Youth in France (UJVF), France-Vietnam Friendship Association (AAFV), and France’s Republican Association of Veterans.
From 1961 to 1971, the US military sprayed about 80 million liters of toxic chemicals, 61 percent of which were AO, containing 366 kg of dioxin, on to nearly a quarter of South Vietnam. About 86 percent of the area was sprayed more than two times, 11 percent of the area was sprayed more than 10 times.
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.