On August 9, 2011, the day before International Agent Orange Day, delegates of the 2nd International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin paid a visit to the Friendship Village where a program was organized to discuss the lingering effects of AO in Viet Nam.
Vietnam Television International was there, and produced this segment documenting the meeting: AO Delegates Visit Van Canh Friendship Village. It features a clip of Director Dang Vu Dung and a few of the international attendees, including several second-generation victims of AO. There is a performance by the children, and I was happy to glimpse a few familiar faces from my past visits to the village. The message of the conference is that the toxic chemicals sprayed in Viet Nam during the American war continue to have devastating effects on families even today, and there continues to be a strong international movement to secure justice and care for the victims.
The Viet Nam Friendship Village in Van Canh, near Hanoi, is one of approximately forty facilities that provide services for Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange. Our village is supported by the Vietnamese government, in cooperation with a community of international friends.
It was on August 10, 1961, fifty years ago, that the US military first sprayed Agent Orange in Viet Nam, the defoliant containing the toxic chemical dioxin. In an ongoing campaign to raise awareness about the lingering effects of this poison legacy, people around the world are getting together on the tenth of August to mark this fiftieth anniversary on what has been dubbed Agent Orange Day.
Our International Committee President, Rosemarie Höhn-Mizo will be attending the Agent Orange Day ceremony in Viet Nam hosted by VAVA (Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin), and we have learned from our Japanese partner Ahara Sigemitu that in his country they are preparing for their first ever 8.10 Vietnam Dioxin Day event. We are sending statements to be presented at both of those events.
In the US, organizers with the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign have a success to celebrate. The legislation they have been working on for four years has been introduced into three Congressional committees by Representative Bob Filner (D-CA). Titled H.R. 2634, Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act of 2011, this bill will help Agent Orange–affected Vietnamese, children of US veterans, and Vietnamese-Americans.
To learn more about Agent Orange Day, check out the Make Agent Orange History blog, Stand Together on Agent Orange Day.