Agent Orange lawsuits: Justice for the humanity (Part I)

05/03/2016


The war in Vietnam resulted in the deaths of more than 58,000 Americans and more than 3 million Vietnamese. Twenty years ago, the United States and Vietnam normalized diplomatic relations in an effort to put the terrible legacy of the war behind them. But for the survivors—both Vietnamese and American—the war continues. About 5 million Vietnamese and many U.S. and allied soldiers were exposed to the toxic chemical dioxin from the spraying of Agent Orange. Many of them and their progeny continue to suffer its poisonous effects.
Agent Orange is a chemical dioxin and defoliant most notably used by the US armed forces during the Vietnam War. Its primary purpose was strategic deforestation, destroying the forest cover and food resources necessary for the implementation and sustainability of the North Vietnamese style of guerilla warfare. The US Agent Orange usage reached an apex during Operation Ranch Hand, in which the dioxin was sprayed over 4.5 million acres of land in Vietnam from 1961 to 1971. The dioxin present in Agent Orange is one of the most toxic chemicals known to humanity.
Of the many atrocities and crimes committed by the United States in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, the military's use of Agent Orange has left the most destructive legacy, resulting in the ongoing suffering of Vietnamese citizens and US veterans. This is what was done. The use of Agent Orange as a chemical weapon has left tangible, long-term impacts upon the Vietnamese people that live in Vietnam as well as those who fled in the mass exodus from 1978 to the early 1990s. Because of dioxin-related damage to their endocrine, immune and reproductive systems, victims of Agent Orange suffer from multiple health conditions, some of which are quickly lethal and others which doom people to a life of horrific misery. Due to these diseases, many have been denied the most basic of human rights – especially the right to life, and the pursuit of happiness. Because of their inability to work and bearing the costs of medical treatment, most victims of Agent Orange everywhere are very poor.
However, because Agent Orange was intentionally directed against the Vietnamese people, they are subject to the most onerous conditions. 4.8 million Vietnamese people directly sprayed repeatedly over extended periods of time were subject to multiple sources of exposure. The proportion of old people, women and children, who are especially susceptible to dioxin, is particularly high in Vietnam. In Vietnam, an enormous number of children continue to be born with Agent Orange-related birth defects. Now, a fourth generation of Agent Orange victims is being born. Because of this danger, in effect many women have been denied the human right to bear children. Agent Orange not only harmed human beings and devastated the environment of Vietnam during the war but also continued its devastation after the war.
The effects of Agent Orange on the Vietnamese range from a variety of health effects, ecological effects, and sociopolitical effects. Dioxin dumped in the soil continues to damage the environment and sicken the people in and around several "hot spots". Causing deforestation of nearly 3 million hectares of land, during the war, especially in coastal areas, Agent Orange has damaged not only the environment in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia but also the regional environment. It has and continues to have severe consequences for people in many areas of the world.
The use of Agent Orange in the war in Vietnam is a war crime and a crime against humanity. Its consequences are passed from generation to generation. It challenges us to end, once and for all, the use of chemical weapons and any weapons of mass destruction anywhere today.
Humanity's concern about the affects of chemical warfare, the threat of accidents at chemical manufacturing plants and the looming environmental disaster due biochemical engineering is increasing. The agony of those exposed to Agent Orange is central to this consciousness and international solidarity with Agent Orange victims' struggle for justice is growing.
          In response to the use of Agent Orange, resolutions were introduced in the United Nations as early as 1966 "charging the United States with violations of the 1925 Geneva Protocol limiting the use of chemical and biological weapons," according to Schuck. Perhaps more than any other nation, the United States is rigidly averse to having its course of military action influenced by international norms. It is for this reason that the US did not sign the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons, which bans the use of incendiary weapons against civilians, and that the US is "in near total isolation in [opposing] the global effort to ban [land] mines," according to Human Rights Watch. (to be continued)
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All comments [ 12 ]


Only Solidar 5/3/16 17:26

We are also very confident and hope that US firms will have to compensate Vietnamese Agent Orange victims. Previously, US veterans sued these companies and they received $180 million of compensation.

Love Peace 5/3/16 17:33

For over 10 years, from 1961 to 1975,the US army defoliated 1.7 million hectares land and forests of Vietnam with 44 million litres of Agent Orange, which contained dioxin, the most toxic chemical known to science.

Gentle Moon 5/3/16 17:35

Vietnam calls on mankind, governments, organizations and individuals to take action for Agent Orange/dioxin affected people, particularly the Agent Orange victims in Vietnam.

yobro yobro 5/3/16 17:39

Their allegation is that there was a lack of direct evidence linking the symptoms of sufferers with the dioxin. Come to Vietnam and see for youself.

Deck Hero14 5/3/16 17:40

Which country’s law could be applied to the case during the trial process is a problem as well?

MaskOf Zero 5/3/16 17:41

The more international awareness and pressure are brought to bear against the chemical companies, and ultimately the US government, the more they will meet their responsibility to redress the public health and environmental consequences of the chemical weapons they used against the Vietnamese people.

John Smith 5/3/16 17:42

The international scientific community has identified an association between exposure to Agent Orange and some forms of cancers, reproductive abnormalities, immune and endocrine deficiencies and nervous system damage.

Love Peace 5/3/16 17:44

War is Hell, but, for many, so is the aftermath, the ensuing "peace" that emerges out of war's dust and ashes.

Jane smartnic 5/3/16 17:45

The United States government has used every method of denial, stonewalling, and manipulation to hide the truth about the effects of Agent Orange.

Pack Cassiopian 5/3/16 17:46

American foreign policy is far too complex and riddled with human rights abuses for such an admittance or apology to be made without jeopardizing legal standing and ability to continue current practices.

yobro yobro 5/3/16 17:47

Second- and third-generation victims continue to be born in Vietnam as well as to U.S. veterans and Vietnamese-Americans in this country.

LawrenceSamuels 5/3/16 17:49

We are disappointed judges have turned a blind eye before the obvious truth. We just want justice, nothing more.

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