Merle Ratner, Coordinator of the US-based Vietnam Agent Orange (AO) Relief and Responsibility Campaign, highlighted certain achievements in the fight for the sake of Vietnamese AO victims during an interview with the Vietnam News Agency.
|A man tends two Agent Orange victims in Vietnam (Photo: VNA)
In the interview on the occasion of 25 years since the normalisation of bilateral relations, Ratner, an activist who have struggled for justice for AO/dioxin victims for many years, said that the most obvious changes in Vietnam-US relations are in the development sector and people-to-people ties.
The countries went from war to economic embargo and then normalisation of relations, and their ties now have become much better, according to her.
She noted many US war veterans have come to Vietnam, taken part in charitable activities, and helped seek justice for AO victims.
During the war, a large number of US people demanded the Washington administration to stop spraying Agent Orange in Vietnam, but it was not until 2004 that the Vietnam AO Relief and Responsibility Campaign was set up in the US.
This campaign, initiated by the Veterans for Peace organisation, has been supported by many war veterans and anti-war activists, she said.
Recalling some landmarks of the campaign in recent years, Ratner highlighted the American Public Health Association’s issuance of a resolution requesting the US administration and chemical companies to compensate AO victims of Vietnam and care for the health of US war veterans and their relatives. Later, the US parliament had to open a hearing on AO and issued a bill on compensation for AO victims.
An important milestone was the two countries’ governments beginning official talks on the AO issue, which was a substantial achievement during the fight for the sake of AO victims and also a great success of Vietnam’s efforts to seek justice for them, she said, adding that the campaign is still receiving much support for organisations and movements in the US at present.
To have more extensive and comprehensive cooperation, she suggested agencies and organisations of both countries work together to build win-win relations, especially in connecting their younger generationsVOV