Belgian MPs Push for Draft Resolution Supporting Vietnamese AO victims
|An overview of the hearing on a draft resolution in support of Vietnamese Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin. Photo: VNA
The Belgian Chamber of Representatives on June 20 held a hearing on a draft resolution in support of Vietnamese Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin, VNA reported.
The hearing was chaired by the Head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Belgian Parliament Els Van Hoof, and attended by many MPs.
Present at the session, Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Van Thao briefed the participants on policies, action programs, and plans for war victims in Vietnam, as well as the close coordination between Vietnam and the US in settling war consequences.
The handling of AO issues needs international support, he said, lauding the Belgian government and people for their cooperation with and assistance to Vietnam in war legacy settlement and national construction over the past time, through many fruitful programs and projects.
Pierre Gréga, President of the Belgium-Vietnam Friendship Association, who visited the Southeast Asian nation last March, said many Vietnamese children in dioxin-contaminated areas were born with birth defects.
Stressing the importance of the draft resolution, Gréga expressed his hope that it will be passed to facilitate the analysis of dioxin impacts on humans and the environment.
It is the problem of not only Vietnam but also the entire world, he stressed.
Jan Haemers, CEO of Haemers Technologies, said his company has been working with the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence since 2022 in dioxin remediation in some “hot spots” with the support of the Belgian government.
|At the hearing on a draft resolution in support of Vietnamese Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin. Photo: VNA
At the hearing, French writer André Bouny, an active social activist for AO/dioxin victims in Vietnam, informed about the consequences of toxic chemicals that Vietnamese victims are suffering up to now. He is also a companion with Tran To Nga, a victim of AO/dioxin, in the process of suing 26 US industrial corporations that are said to have produced poison and brought it to the test during the American war in Vietnam.
André Flahaut, one of the five Belgian parliamentarians who proposed the draft resolution, told the VNA’s correspondents in Brussels that he hopes the bill will be adopted this year on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Belgium.
Sharing Flahaut’s view, Chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee under the Belgian Chamber of Representatives Els Van Hoof said the information work should be stepped up to call for international support, especially tech firms, in dioxin cleanup in Vietnam.
The draft resolution will be discussed at the session of this Committee at the end of July and early August to then be presented to the House of Representatives at a plenary session in early October.
Once the draft resolution is approved, the Belgian parliament will be the first European legislature to support the issue, she stressed.
According to the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin (VAVA), the US army sprayed 80 million litres of toxic chemicals on the South of Vietnam between 1961 and 1971, with 61% being AO containing 366kg of dioxin, on over nearly 3.06 million hectares (equivalent to nearly one-quarter of the south’s total area).
Preliminary statistics showed that 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to AO/dioxin, and about 3 million people became victims. Tens of thousands of people have died and millions of others suffered from cancer and other incurable diseases as a result. Many of their offspring also suffer from birth deformities.
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