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NGO's open letter to US Federal Court on lawsuit against chemical firms

By Vietnamese News Agency

Ha Noi--- The Research Centre for Gender, Family and Environment in Development (CGFED), a charitable non-governmental organization (NGO) of social sciences has sent an open letter to the US Federal Court, Brooklyn, New York, affirming its support to Vietnamese people who are pursuing a lawsuit against US chemical firms that supplied chemicals to the US armed forces to spray in southern Viet Nam during the war.

In the letter, the centre has called for domestic and international friends to support victims of chemical weapons.

The centre also announced that one of several problems they have studied since 2000 is the damage caused by Agent Orange sprayed from the US aircraft in wartime toward life of victims and their families.

The centre has conducted survey into 160 families whose members have fallen victim to Agent Orange and dioxin sprayed in 21 communes of 11 provinces and cities in northern, central and southern Viet Nam. Stories are told about the generational effects over one hundred male and female dioxin victims belonging to different generations.

The letter stated: "It is possible to infer from this set of facts that dioxin spraying has resulted in far-reaching consequences on the socio-economic, material and spiritual life that not only for whole families but also for communities. AO dioxin spraying has serious repercussions on the health of its direct and indirect victims: sickness, mental deficiency, and diseases recorded by the US Academy of Medical Sciences. The harm caused by AO dioxin has left its mark on the third-generation of victims in Viet Nam. The letter also affirmed that their right to have healthy children was contravened as they gave birth to either a mentally retarded child or a child with congenital malformation.

However, families that bear the consequences of Agent Orange and dioxin spraying try hard to get over innumerable financial difficulties, but how can they cope with spiritual and emotional problems as they have no healthy children to perpetuate their lineage.

The letter quoted journalist Jean Pierot in an editorial entitled "The debt" as saying that "The Vietnam war was over 25 years ago, but it's repercussion have been murderous and destructive. Agent Orange sprayed on Vietnamese territory in the past does not cease to cause untold sufferings to numerous third-generation children. No one can foretell when this malpractice will be brought to an end."

"The US owes a debt to this country, to each victim, to each child with a painful body, and up to now, only the Vietnamese Government has given assistance to them, and in this context, the US administration's only concern is to insist on the Vietnamese Government's help to find the corpses of missing soldiers".

The letter noted that "There are three million dioxin-stricken people. This statistical evidence, however accurate it may be, cannot mirror the great grief to each victim ". At present, families of the victims, with the help lent by the Vietnamese government and community, have partially relieved suffering among the victims, but can AO dioxin sprayers disclaim all their responsibility for the damage they caused"?

Article can be viewed on http://www.vnagency.com.vn/newsA.asp?LANGUAGE_ID=2&CATEGORY_ID=29&NEWS_ID=109712

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