Featured image: VAVA Delegation, left to right: two translators, VAVA President Nguyen Van Rin, Nguyen Minh Y, Dang Hong Nhut
From November 22nd to December 4th, 2010 a delegation of leaders of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin (VAVA) visited the U.S. at the invitation of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign. The group, headed by VAVA President Nguyen Van Rinh, will visit the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City and Washington DC. They will meet with veterans, Vietnamese Americans, environmental, public health and peace activists in our communities and members of Congress.
VAVA is the only organization representing Vietnam’s millions of Agent Orange victims, with over 300,000 members and chapters in almost every province in Vietnam. VAVA advocates for the victims and provides assistance to them and their families – from health care and rehabilitation, to education and day care.
The visit strengthened the cooperation between our Campaign and VAVA and allow VAVA to make contacts with a wide range of organizations and individuals concerned about achieving justice for Agent Orange victims.
San Francisco and San Jose Chapters of Veterans for Peace, VAORRC Welcome VAVA to California
Monday, November 22, 2010, we welcomed Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) on their arrival from Vietnam with a Reception at the Veterans War Memorial Building. Members of the delegation spoke of their efforts to convince congress to live up to their obligation to clean up the mess created by the use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam conflict.
Paul Cox from VFP and VAORRC also spoke and described the use of Agent Orange and its devastation upon the land, the food chain and the people affected by it then and now. Citizens of Vietnam even today suffer disastrous health problems because of the Dioxin remaining in their soil poisoning their soil and food supplies. The delegation is heading to Washington, DC to meet with congresspeople and others.
Nguyen Van Rinh
Mr. Nguyen Van Rinh was born into a family of several generations of poor farmers in Tu Ky District, Hai Duong Province, in the northern part of Vietnam. Mr. Rinh’s father was active in the guerrilla movement against French colonialism and was killed during a French attack on his village. Mr. Rinh was eight years old. In 1961, Mr. Rinh joined the People’s Army of Vietnam and participated in almost all the major battles and military campaigns and fought in the areas most sprayed with Agent Orange. He served as a gunner in an artillery battalion, and rose through the ranks from battalion commander and corps commander to deputy minister of Vietnam’s Ministry of Defense. After his retirement as a Senior Lt. Gen. in 2008, the 2nd National Congress of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) elected him as President of VAVA. Nguyen Van Rinh has two daughters. His wife is a retired social worker.
Mrs. Dang Hong Nhut
Dang Hong Nhut Mrs. Dang Hong is a veteran of the war. Born on December 12, 1936, married in 1959 and gave birth to a healthy son in 1960. Between 1961 and 1966 she joined the resistance forces in the Southeastern region of Vietnam (included Tây Ninh, Bình Dương, Củ Chi) and she was directly exposed to Agent Orange. Between 1966 and 1972 she was arrested and imprisoned by the US-supported government. In 1973 and again in 1975 Mrs. Nhut suffered miscarriages early in her pregnancy. In 1975, she again suffered a miscarriage. In 1977, she gave birth to a congenitally deformed still-born child. In 1980, she had another miscarriage. In 2002, she had surgery to remove an intestinal tumor. In 2003, she underwent another operation to remove a tumor from her thyroid. She now has cancer.
Mrs. Nhut’s husband was a veteran who was also exposed to Agent Orange. He was later diagnosed with intestinal cancer, metastasizing to the lung and the liver. He died in May, 1999.
Mrs. Nhut is a member of the Central Board of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) and Director of Ho Chi Minh City chapter of VAVA. Read more about Ms. Nhut’s story at www.guardian.co.uk
Nguyen Minh Y
Nguyen Minh YMr. Nguyen Minh Y is a veteran of the U.S. war in Vietnam, serving in the battlefield in the areas of heaviest fighting. After 1975 he served as an Army leader in political/military strategy and civilian affairs. Since his retirement, Minh Y has served in the Veterans’ Association of Vietnam and is now director of international affairs and a member of the Central Board of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA). Minh Y is married to an artist and is the father of two sons.
Mr. Pham Truong is an alternate Central Board member of VAVA.
Nguyen Tuan Minh
Mr. Nguyen Tuan Minh is the interpreter. He works at the the People’s Aid Coordinating Committee.
Dec. 9, 2010, Hanoi, Vietnam
The US Government should be responsible for assisting and compensating Agent Orange victims, said senior lieutenant-general Nguyen Van Rinh, Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA). General Rinh, who has concluded a visit to the U.S., emphasized this at a press briefing.