A senior military official has hoped that the Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) will pursue the struggle for justice for local AO victims on the basis of international law.

Sen. Lieu. Gen. Ngo Xuan Lich, permanent member of the Central Military Commission and head of the General Department of Politics of the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA), expressed the hope at a working session with VAVA representatives in Hanoi on July 30.

In recent years, the Ministry of Defence has worked with the Ministry of Labour Invalid and Social Affairs in proposing to the Party and State mechanisms and policies in support of AO-infected war veterans and their relatives, he said.

Domestic and foreign organisations and individuals have taken a range of activities to help them enjoy a better life, he added.

According to VAVA, over the last decade, the association has established its branches in 59 provinces and cities across the country with over 325,000 members. It has also set up funds in 33 localities and 24 rehabilitation centres in 20 provinces and cities.

It has raised nearly 718 billion VND (34 million USD) in and outside the country to repair and build houses, grant scholarships, generate jobs and offer storm relief for AO victims and their families.

The association has partnered with 500 organisations and individuals from 30 countries worldwide to aid its lawsuit against 37 US chemical companies which sprayed the toxic chemical during the war in Vietnam.

Public opinions in and outside the country have forced the US government to detoxify dioxin-contaminated areas as well as provide financial support for AO victims to assess medical checkups and treatment.

From 1961-1971, US troops sprayed more than 80 million litres of herbicides - 44 million litres of which were AO that contained nearly 370kg of dioxin - over southern Vietnam.

As a result, around 3.5–4 million Vietnamese people were exposed to AO/dioxin. Many of the victims have died, while millions of their descendants are living with deformities and diseases due to the effects of the chemical.-VNA