The head of a delegation representing US Veterans said on April 7 that they would compile a document supporting Agent Orange/dioxin victims in Vietnam, which he said is part of their commitment to help Vietnam in its fight for justice.

Paul Cox made the statement at the signing ceremony of a joint statement between his delegation and the Vietnam Association for Victims of AO/Dioxin (VAVA).

The document will focus on describing the suffering endured by Vietnamese victims, and will contain a demand for aid and assistance. It will also raise another voice of support to the VAVA’s lawsuit against US chemical manufacturers.

The delegation of US Veterans, comprising of leaders from the Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Vietnam Veterans Against the War as well as the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign, have been on a visit to Vietnam from March 28 to April 7.

“Over the last ten days, we have visited AO victims in Hoa Binh, Thai Binh, Da Nang , Hue and Ho Chi Minh City . We were deeply moved when we saw their suffering and the difficulties they were in,” said Paul Cox. “We are committed to taking action together to help Vietnamese victims fight for justice.”

Thirty-five years have gone by, yet the pains of the past war are still deeply felt across the country and millions of Vietnamese people are suffering, both physically and spiritually, said the VAVA’s President Nguyen Van Rinh.

According to the VAVA, US troops sprayed around 80 million litres of defoliants containing 400 kg of the poisonous AO/dioxin, onto the southern battlefields over a ten year period, from 1961 to 1971. As a result, around 4.8 million people in Vietnam were exposed to the lethal substance of who 3 million have fallen victim to AO/dioxin.

Over the years, the Vietnamese government have always tried to support the victims. Currently, the government allocates funding of 50 million USD every year distributed as a monthly allowance to more than 200,000 victims.

In addition, the government encourages and facilitates non-governmental organisations to provide free health care services, vocational training and programmes to improve the livelihoods of more than one million others.

The VAVA and several AO/dioxin victims plan to visit the US this May to call for support from the US public in their fight for justice and demands that US chemical companies are called to account./.