Aug. 10 - Campaigners say 50 years is too long to wait for the U.S. government to take responsibility for the birth defects caused by Agent Orange during the Vietnam war. Lily Grimes reports.
During the Vietnam War the U.S. military sprayed millions of litres of toxic herbicide Agent Orange to defoliate the forests. Over 4.5 million Vietnamese were exposed to it. Three million still suffer health problems. But 50 years on the U.S. government refuses to accept responsibility for the harm caused. At the International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange in Hanoi campaigners and victims from 18 countries signed an appeal to the international community demanding the U.S. government acknowledge the toxic chemical's effects. (SOUNDBITE) (Vietnamese) PRESIDENT OF THE VIETNAM ASSOCIATION FOR VICTIMS OF AGENT ORANGE, NGUYEN VAN RINH, SAYING: "The 50 years' waiting period is too long. The fact that the U.S. government chooses to neglect the matter is not very humane and is unfair." Thousands of Agent Orange victims, especially children with congenital malformations, seek medical treatment in special centres like this one, known as friendship villages. The Association of Agent Orange victims filed a lawsuit against U.S. companies for causing injury by developing and producing the chemical. But the court turned it down saying the herbicides were not intended to be used on humans and therefore did not violate international law. Lily Grimes, Reuters