ACTIVISTS and veterans of the Vietnam war wrapped up a global conference on Agent Orange yesterday by insisting that the US government and chemical companies must take responsibility for health problems linked to the defoliant.
"We demand that US chemical companies pay compensation equal to their liability. We demand the US government be held responsible for making contributions to overcome the consequences of toxic chemicals," said a final statement.
More than 100 activists and veterans of the Vietnam war from at least six countries, including the US, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, attended the two-day gathering in Hanoi.
Vietnam says that US aircraft sprayed about 21 million gallons of defoliant, mostly Agent Orange, over Vietnam from 1961 to 1971 to destroy forest cover for liberation forces.
Agent Orange contains dioxin, a chemical that causes health problems ranging from cancer to spina bifida and diabetes. Washington disputes this.
Vietnam Association of Agent Orange Victims head Tran Xuan Thu said that the conference and public support around the world would help them in their appeal.
"For the future of mankind, we must prevent the use of Agent Orange from being repeated in any other country in the world," he said.