The Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange (AO)/Dioxin (VAVA) sent an open letter on April 9 calling for support to an AO victim’s lawsuit against 26 US chemical companies that produced the chemical toxins sprayed by the US army in the war in Vietnam.

Vietnamese-French Tran Thi To Nga, born in 1942, became a war correspondent of the Liberation News Agency after graduating from a Hanoi university in 1966. She worked in some of the most heavily AO/Dioxin affected areas in southern Vietnam such as Cu Chi, Ben Cat and along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, ultimately experiencing effects of contamination.

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

In 2009, Nga, who contracted a number of acute diseases, appeared as a witness at the Court of Public Opinion in Paris, France against US chemical companies.

In May last year, she and the Paris-based William Bourdon & Forestier law firm filed a lawsuit against 26 US chemical firms for producing chemical toxins sprayed by the US army in the war in Vietnam, causing serious consequences for the community, her and her children.

The complaint and related documents were handed over to the Crown Court of Evry city in the suburb of Paris and the 26 US companies, 10 of which have hired defence lawyers.

The Court of Evry city will conduct legal proceedings for the lawsuit on April 16, said VAVA Chairman Nguyen Van Rinh at a press conference on April 9.

In the open letter, the VAVA calls on the court to expeditiously complete documents and procedures relating to the lawsuit. It also appeals to lawyers to speak from the bottom of their hearts and seek justice for AO victims who are “the most miserable among the miserable and the poorest among the poor”.

Meanwhile, the association requests the US chemical producers, especially Monsato and Dow Chemical, to take responsibility and give practical and effective assistance to AO victims and their families in Vietnam.

The press should raise a stronger voice in advocating the struggle for justice for AO victims as well as Tran Thi To Nga, the letter reads.

The VAVA asks the International Association of Democratic Lawyers to launch a campaign popularising the danger of AO/Dioxin toxins to human and the environment. It also calls upon governments and non-governmental organisations to actively disseminate the perils of the products containing chlorine, which release Dioxin into the environment.

The open letter asks associations around the world to call on lawyers, scientists, politicians, and social activists in their countries to support the struggle and demand the US chemical companies work with Vietnam to settle the chemical aftermath and compensate and help AO/Dioxin victims.-VNA