The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) has called on the Human Rights Council to protect the right to life of Vietnamese Agent Orange victims, at the current 20th session of this UN organisation.

Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Rinh, President of the Vietnamese Association for Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA) which represents more than 3 million Vietnamese AO victims, was present at the event.

IADL President Jeanne Mirer told hundreds of delegates from UN member countries that during the war in Vietnam in the latter half of the 20 th century, the US launched a chemical warfare, the largest and longest in the history of mankind, by spraying about 80 million litres of toxic herbicides, referred to as Agent Orange. These chemicals contained between 366 and 600kg of dioxin that is considered one the most dangerous toxin ever known.

Agent Orange has left about 3 million Vietnamese afflicted with one or several kinds of dangerous diseases including children of the second or third generations born with severe deformities.

She told the session that while recognising and compensating the US veterans with Agent Orange connected diseases, the US government almost ignores the demand of the Vietnamese victims to admit its responsibility, while many of the victims are nearing the end of their lives. She asked the Human Rights Council to act immediately.

In an interview given to a Geneva-based VNA correspondent, Jeanne Mirer said IADL is working closely with VAVA to highlight the problems facing the victims. IADL is also going to promote August 10 as the day of action for Vietnamese AO victims because that was the day 51 years ago the spraying began in southern Vietnam .

Earlier on June 26, VAVA and IADL co-organised a side-event entitled “Legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam ” at the UN Office in Geneva .

Sen. Lt. Gen. Nguyen Van Rinh said the event aims to draw international organisations and UN human right agencies’ attention to the right to life of Vietnamese AO victims, while demanding that the US government and chemical companies admit their responsibility to the victims.

Rinh also appealed for the world to say No to chemical warfare.-VNA