US Court's Ruling Erroneous and Unjust: VN Foreign Ministry Spokesman

The Feb. 22  verdict by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (New York City) to reject the case filed by Vietnamese Agent Orange Victims against US chemical companies which produced Agent Orange/dioxin is erroneous and unjust, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Dzung said Saturday.  agent_orange.gif

"It is arousing indignation among the Vietnamese people", Dzung said in a statement.

"The verdict has denied a truth that Agent Orange/Dioxin used by the US miliatry during the war in Vietnam has been causes to severe consequences to humans and environment in Vietnam, things which have been confirmed in numerous researches by international scientists, including American researchers. It is particularly regretful that the ruling came in a time that the US government has started cooperating with Viet Nam to resolve the consequences caused by Agent Orange/dioxin." said Dzung.

Dzung opined that resolving the consequences of Agent Orange/Dioxin is an issue of great urgency and humanity. "It has been nearly four decades since the end of the war (in Vietnam) but its consequences are still profoundly lingering with impacts on the Vietnamese society and economy as well as on the life of many Vietnamese people. Millions of Agent Orange/dioxin victims in Vietnam suffer pains in their daily life, physically and mentally. The US chemical manufacturers are to be obliged to their responsibility and to make contribution to practically addressing the consequences of Agent Orange/dioxin, fulfilling their legal and moral obligations, not only for US veterans but also for the Vietnamese victims."

The spokesman said "such demands by the Vietnamese Agent Orange/dioxin victims are of full legitimacy. It is our belief that the international community, including many US individuals and organizations, will continue to standby the Vietnamese Agent Orange/dioxin victims in this struggle for justice."


Press Statement by the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin

On February 22nd, 2008 , in New York , the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the March 19, 2005 judgment of the U.S District Court dismissing the lawsuit of Vietnam ’s Agent Orange victims against the companies who manufactured this deadly chemical. This is an irrational, biased and unfair decision which does not respond to the reality faced every day by the Vietnamese victims whose suffering is caused by Agent Orange/Dioxin.
Vietnamese Agent Orange victims would like to emphasize that the U.S. chemical companies’ production and supply of toxic chemicals for U.S forces’ use in the Vietnam War continues to cause deadly and long lasting consequences to human health and ecosystems in Vietnam . The U.S chemical companies knew very well that their products were harmful to human health before they sold these poisons to the U.S government for use in Vietnam . However, in order to achieve maximum profits and speed up production, they used a technological process in the manufacturing of Agent Orange which resulted in much higher levels of dioxin in their Agent Orange, making their product that much more lethal. These companies have ignored the truth and evaded liability for their crimes committed not only against Vietnamese victims, but also victims in other countries that were involved in the Vietnam War.
A serious review of the lawsuit brought by the Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin who are daily dying or living in agony due to torturous ailments has been denied, even though the U.S government is paying billions of dollars yearly to compensate U.S veterans who were exposed to the same toxic chemical.
Is there anything more unfair than this? The spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, Mr. Le Dung clearly stated that, “this erroneous and unfair judgment made by the U.S Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Feb, 22nd, 2008 has resulted in strong resentment on the part of the Vietnamese people. We are extremely sorry that the Court of Appeals has issued such judgment at a time when the U.S. government is engaging in certain cooperative efforts with Viet Nam in solving the consequences of Agent Orange/Dioxin.”
The demands of the victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin are completely legitimate. The Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin have no other option than to continue their fight for justice and continue their campaign to gain stronger support from the public in Vietnam and abroad, including that of the American people and political circles.
We ask people of conscience the world over to stand side by side with us in demanding that the producers of these lethal poisons fulfill their legal, spiritual and moral responsibilities for the consequences that they have caused, and in demanding justice and fairness for the victims of Agent Orange in Viet Nam and in other countries.
The pain suffered by the victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin in Vietnam is the common pain of humanity. Truth is on our side and the struggle for justice will prevail!