Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Perhaps Vietnam is Angry Because the Blue Planet Run Isn't Visiting Them

Remember my earlier statement that Dow is damned if they do, and damned if they don't? Well, the Britain-Viet Nam Friendship Society has spoken out:

The Dow Chemical Company, one of the manufacturers of deadly chemicals used by US forces in the Viet Nam War, is sponsoring the Blue Planet Run Foundation’s run through 16 countries to promote the use of safe drinking water....

While applauding the run, I, on behalf of three million physically deformed Vietnamese and the Britain-Viet Nam Friendship Society, must condemn Dow Chemical’s involvement.

It is complete hypocrisy that a company such as Dow should campaign for safe drinking water considering that it has been responsible for contaminating rivers, lakes and other waterways in many countries....

In addition, it was Dow Chemical along with Monsanto and 34 other American companies that manufactured the chemicals, including Agent Orange, used by US forces during the American war on Viet Nam.

It is calculated that 82 million litres of deadly chemicals were sprayed over 10 years, destroying thousands of hectares of forest, destroying crops and roadside vegetation, and poisoning lakes and rivers in South Viet Nam.

Because of this, more than three million Vietnamese stretching into the third, post-war generation, now suffer from serious illnesses and severe disabilities. Thousands of others have died from chemical-related ailments....

Trying to create an image that is a responsible company interested in preserving people’s health and the environment is a bit much to bear.

We call on Dow and the other companies to accept their responsibilities and clean up the areas of Viet Nam contaminated by their ghastly products.

Meanwhile, in Vietnam...

The 77-page report, “Children of the Dust: Abuse of Hanoi Street Children in Detention,” documents cases of serious violations of the rights of street children in Hanoi. Police routinely round up street children in arbitrary sweeps and deposit them at state “rehabilitation” centers – euphemistically called “Social Protection Centers” – where they are detained for periods ranging from two weeks to as much as six months.

Drawing on testimonies from street children interviewed over the past three years, Human Rights Watch detailed the particularly harsh treatment at one of the rehabilitation centers, Dong Dau Social Protection Center. Children there are locked up in filthy, overcrowded cells for 23 hours a day, sometimes together with adults, with only a bucket for excrement. The lights remain on night and day. They are released for two half-hour periods per day to wash and to eat. They are offered no rehabilitation, no educational and recreational activities, and no medical or psychological treatment. Their families are often not notified about where they are.

Even more disturbing are reports that children at Dong Dau are subject to routine beatings, verbal abuse and mistreatment by staff....

After being beaten, the children rarely receive medical treatment for their injuries, nor are staff persons who carry out the beatings disciplined.

Now let's see...we were talking about complete hypocrisy, right?


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