Vietnamese-French women’s AO lawsuit published on German newspaper

In its article, the newspaper said that almost half a century after the Vietnam war, a court ruling against the Bayer Group and other international chemical companies will be made in France on May 10.

Nga, a 79-year-old Vietnamese French woman, accuses herbicide manufacturer Monsanto (now under the Bayer Group of Germany), and other companies, of supplying the herbicide and defoliant chemical - Agent Orange/dioxin, which was used extensively by the US army between 1961-1971 in Vietnam, causing serious consequences for 4 million people and severely poisoning the environment.

Vietnamese AO/dioxin victims (Photo: VOV)

Vietnamese AO/dioxin victims (Photo: VOV)

Through this lawsuit, Nga and organisations that have supported her want the international community to recognise the crime of "ecological destruction" in the Vietnam war, the newspaper said.

It explained that the defoliant Agent Orange is held responsible for cancer and severe malformations, among other things. Nga and her daughter also suffer from heart problems, among other things, and she also has cancer. Another daughter died early of a congenital heart defect. Even today, 6,000 children are born with malformations every year in Vietnam.

The same day, the Deutsche Welle (German wave) website reported on persistent effects of Agent Orange/dioxin that the US used during the Vietnam war.

Statistics show that about 2-4 million people have been affected permanently by the chemical and at least 100,000 children are born with disabilities. In addition to the serious defects, there are more than 20 diseases believed to be the direct result of Agent Orange/dioxin such as cleft palate, hunchbacked spine, immunodeficiency, neurological disorders, diabetes and Parkinson.

Nga filed the lawsuit in May 2014. Among the companies named in her suit, there are such names as Monsanto (now under the Bayer Group) and Dow Chemical.

With the support of several non-governmental organisations, Nga accused the companies of causing lasting harm to the health of her, her children and countless others, as well as destroying the environment.

Nga graduated from a Hanoi university in 1966 and became a war correspondent of the Liberation News Agency, now the Vietnam News Agency (VNA). 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 contamination effects herself.

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

On April 16, 2015, the Crown Court of Evry city held the first hearing on the case, but since then, lawyers for the chemical companies have tried every way to draw out procedures.

The trial was scheduled to open in October 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

As a result, around 4.8 million Vietnamese were exposed to the toxic chemical. Many of the victims have died, while millions of their descendants are living with deformities and diseases as a direct result of the chemical’s effects.

Nga claims compensations for health problems.

If the court decides in her favour, Nga would be the first Vietnamese AO/dioxin victim to be compensated./.


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