These activities remind us of the extremely devastating chemical war caused by the US on the environment and people of Vietnam; thereby arousing each person's conscience and responsibility for the work of overcoming the consequences of Agent Orange/dioxin, taking better care of and helping the AO victims, giving them more faith in life and helping them integrate into the community.
Human history has never witnessed such a war with the largest scale, longest duration, causing the most terrible consequences to the environment and people - like the chemical war caused by the US to the Vietnamese people. In 10 years from 1961 to 1971, the US military carried out 19,905 missions, spraying 80 million liters of toxic chemicals, of which 61% was Agent Orange containing 366kg of dioxin, on 25,585 villages (accounting for a quarter of the area of South Vietnam), making 4.8 million people expose to the chemicals; more than 3 million victims of whom have become AO victims…
It has been 61 years since August 10, 1961 - when the first aircraft of the US Air Force began to spray the poisons, starting the 10-year chemical war in the South Vietnam so far, but the painful consequences left by the Agent Orange/dioxin disaster in our country are still extremely heavy and serious. Hundreds of thousands of victims are living in extremely difficult circumstances both economically, physically and mentally due to the sequelae of Agent Orange. And yet, Agent Orange/dioxin also sows painful consequences across generations which are persistent and painful in the victims' families...
That painful memory is unforgettable for the Vietnamese people and progressive humanity worldwide!
Accompanying, sharing - responsibility and ethics
In order to deal with the consequences of toxic chemicals on the environment and people, over the years, the Party and State have issued many guiding documents with political, socio-economic, humanitarian and humanistic meanings, related to the settlement of regimes and policies for revolutionary participants, especially those who are infected with the toxic chemicals. Since 2004, the Party, State and the Central Committee of the Vietnam Fatherland Front have decided to take August 10 every year as the Day for the Agent Orange disaster in Vietnam and the Day for Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange. In 2009, the World Peace Council also issued a resolution to designate August 10 as the International Day of Solidarity with Vietnamese AO victims.
It can be said that Directive 43-CT/TW dated May 14, 2015 of the Secretariat of the Party Central Committee (11th tenure) on "Strengthening the Party's leadership in dealing with the consequences of toxic chemicals used by the US during the war in Vietnam", Directive No. 14-CT/TW dated July 19, 2017 of the Party Central Committee's Secretariat on "Continuing to strengthen the Party's leadership in implementing policies for people with meritorious services to the revolution", Ordinance No. 26/2005 of the National Assembly Standing Committee (11th tenure) on incentives for people with meritorious services to the revolution and Ordinance on incentives for people with meritorious services to the revolution (amended) passed by the National Assembly Standing Committee on December 9, 2020. The Ordinance consists of 7 chapters and 58 articles which have been fundamentally and comprehensively revised and supplemented with many new policies in order to continue to affirm the consistent principles of the Party and State that: Taking care of the health, material and spiritual life of people with meritorious services and their relatives is the responsibility of the State and society. Most recently, on December 28, 2021, the Prime Minister signed Decision No. 2215/QD-TTg promulgating the National Action Plan to overcome the consequences of post-war toxic chemicals in Vietnam for the period between 2021 and 2030, and Decree No. 131/2021/ND-CP dated December 30, 2021 of the Government detailing and implementing measures to implement the Ordinance on incentives for people with meritorious services to the revolution. These are important documents directing the task of overcoming the Agent Orange disaster for the environment and implementing incentives for revolution activists and their children and grandchildren infected with Agent Orange/dioxin.
Immersed in the ethics and tradition of "Drinking water, remember the source" of the nation, Party committees, authorities at all levels, socio-political organizations have been widely deployed and brought those important directives, resolutions and decisions into life, integrated with socio-economic development programs and plans of the central and local governments. Along with that, every year, the State also spends about 10,000 billion VND on healthcare, support and rehabilitation for the AO victims, and implements projects on detoxification, ecological environment restoration, and support in some regions with special difficulty due to the heavy consequences of Agent Orange/dioxins. Responding to the movement of "Action for Vietnam's AO victims" launched by the Central Committee of the Vietnam Fatherland Front in June 2011 and the emulation movement "For the Vietnamese AO victims" initiated by the Central Committee of VAVA since February 2007 to date, all levels, sectors, organizations, businesses, benefactors, people from all walks of life and international friends have accompanied and stood shoulder to shoulder with VAVA in the journey of love to ease the pain of orange. Thanks to the deep concern of the Party and State, the strong support of charitable social organizations, businesses, domestic benefactors and international friends, Vietnamese AO victims have received much support and help; and step by step overcome their diseases and difficulties to rise up in life.
VAVA deserves to be the support of Agent Orange victims
As a social and humanitarian organization assigned by the Party and State, since its inception in January 2004, VAVA has always received the care of the Party and State, ministries, departments, branches, the Central Committee of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, the close coordination of socio-political organizations, the attention of the Party committees, authorities, mass organizations and people of the provinces; has always actively, proactively, creatively, and comprehensively implemented all aspects of work, and achieved many important results, especially in the care and support of AO victims.
The spirit of "Solidarity - Love - Responsibility - For the victims of Agent Orange" is also being spread more and more widely in the community. The activities of gratitude, taking care of people with meritorious services, and caring for AO victims are taking place robustly. Up to now, VAVA has mobilized nearly 3,133 billion VND (in 2021 alone, more than 400 billion VND was mobilized). Since the beginning of 2022 to date, despite facing many difficulties, VAVA has actively mobilized domestic and foreign organizations and individuals to support the victims with over 200 billion VND. From this fund, millions of turns of the victims have benefited through practical and effective forms of care and help. The victims and their families have more motivation to overcome difficulties and illnesses. No victim is left behind!
During its operation, VAVA has received support from departments, ministries and branches, socio-political organizations, party committees and authorities at all levels, and have well performed the tasks assigned by the Party and State. It has effectively participated in the work of overcoming the consequences of toxic chemicals, protecting the legitimate interests for the victims. The Association actively proposes and recommends to competent agencies to supplement and amend regimes and policies for the victims; advises, proposes and mobilizes social resources to take care of and help the victims, and fight for justice for the victims. With the motto of "Where there are victims, there appears VAVA", the Association has seen its presence at all levels to communes, wards, hamlets, and residential groups. The Agent Orange/dioxin Fund has been founded at the central level and in 40/63 provinces and cities, 108 districts, 539 communes and wards. The staffs of the Association, especially at the grassroots level, are enthusiastic; care and help the victims wholeheartedly. Therefore, more and more victims benefit from the policy and receive more material and spiritual help.
Towards the grassroots, for the victims in a practical and sustainable manner
Overcoming the consequences of toxic chemicals used by the US during the war in Vietnam on the environment and human health is both an urgent and long-term issue, and the responsibility of the whole political system and society. Upholding the tradition of "Drinking water, remember the source", the spirit of "Mutual love", joining hands to alleviate the pain of Agent Orange, in the coming time, all levels of VAVA should focus on the following tasks:
Firstly, make good recommendations to the Party committees and authorities at all levels on measures to lead, direct and effectively implement Directive 43, Directive 14 of the PCC’s Secretariat and Decision No. 2215 of the Prime Minister. Renovate propaganda so that domestic and foreign publics better understand the AO disaster in Vietnam, thereby actively responding to the movement "Action for Agent Orange Victims" by many concrete actions, in the spirit of "leaving no victim behind".
Secondly, continue to closely coordinate with agencies, units and benefactors to conduct both domestic and international mobilizations to take care of and help the victims in a practical, effective, and appropriate and sustainable manner. Pay attention to helping people in areas exposed Agent Orange, especially in remote, isolated and extremely difficult areas through social security programs.
Thirdly, strengthen the inspection and supervision of the implementation of regimes and policies for AO victims to ensure that no mistake, negativity or wrongdoing is made; pay full regimes for the right subjects according to regulations; at the same time, continue to propose the functional branches to consider and have incentives and policies for resistance activists infected with toxic chemicals and the third generations who are grandchildren of resistance activists infected with Agent Orange/dioxin.
Fourth, continue to promote people's diplomacy; be persistent in the fight for justice for the victims and support Ms. Tran To Nga's lawsuit in the new period.
Fifth, VAVA at all levels continue to promote the spirit of "Solidarity - Gratitude - Responsibility - For Agent Orange Victims"; actively renew the contents, methods, and improve operational efficiency; better advise the Party committees and authorities to build the association strong, fulfilling its political tasks assigned by the Party and the State which is to care for and help the victims and fight for their justice with forms and steps suitable to the country's conditions and the foreign policy of our Party and State in the new period. Promote the core role of the Association, together with the political system, the whole society and international friends in joining hands, contributing to alleviating the pain of Agent Orange and serving as a solid support for the victims of Agent Orange.
Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Rinh, President of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin