Hanoi (VNA) – The recent ruling of a court in
California, the US, on the link between weedkiller produced by Monsanto and
cancer, has sparked hope for the lawsuit against the same company launched by
Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange.
After a month-long trial, the US jury determined Monsanto’s
Roundup weedkiller caused cancer for Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old former
groundskeeper, and that the corporation failed to warn him of the health
hazards from exposure.
The US chemical group has for long been associated with the
Agent Orange issue in Vietnam. It was one of the main suppliers of more than 80
million litres of herbicides that US troops sprayed over southern Vietnam from
1961-1971. Of the volume, 44 million litres were AO, containing nearly 370
kilograms of dioxin.
Around 4.8 million Vietnamese were exposed to the toxic
chemical. As a consequence of exposure, many of the victims have died of
numerous diseases, while millions of their descendants are living with
deformities and diseases due to the chemical’s effects.
In 2004, Vietnamese AO/dioxin victims filed a lawsuit
against 37 US firms, including Monsanto, for producing the chemical toxins
sprayed by the US army. In 2009, an international court opened in France to
deal with the AO matter and Vietnamese victims. However, both the US Government
and sued companies refused to appear.
On April 18, 2017, The Monsanto Tribunal in The Hague, the
Netherlands found Monsanto is guilty of ecocide, which has left long-term
consequences on the ecosystem of various nations, including Vietnam, after six
months of investigation and two days of testimony. The US agrochemical giant,
which specialises in manufacturing glyphosate – a broad-spectrum systemic
herbicide (Roundup), rejected the ruling.
In an interview following the Roundup trial, the co-coordinator
of the US-based Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign Merle
Ratner said it was a historic verdict, which will have significant impacts on
similar trials against Monsanto.
The fight would be long as Monsanto said it would appeal the
verdict, she said but stressed that the ruling has greatly encouraged people who
have been standing up to seek justice for the victims of its products.
Ratner said she will continue campaigning to
urge the US Government and Congress to adopt measures in support of AO
consequences alleviation in Vietnam, while pursuing legal procedures to make US
chemical companies involved to accept their compensation duty.-VNA