Victim of Japanese sexual slavery renews call for justice

June 18, 2016 1:51 am 

GENEVA, June 17 — A 91 year-old South Korean survivor of Japanese military sexual slavery during World War II on Friday condemned the controversial "comfort women" agreement reached by Japan and South Korea last year.

"I am a victim of the Japanese sexual slavery. I wanted to tell you about my experience and my demands and I had to come here to seek any support from all of you here, because my country was weak, " Bok-dong Kim told a UN Human Rights Council (HRC) event here.

"We tried to deliver our demands and we tried to be heard. I don't know how the agreement was made, but the Korean government did not talk to or discuss with the Korean Council or us, the victims," she said.

Starting as early as 1932, the Japanese Army subjugated thousands of women and girls not only from the Korean Peninsula but also from other nations such as China, the Philippines, Myanmar, Indonesia and the Netherlands to sexual slavery.

Though a deal between Seoul and Tokyo was struck last year in view of "finally and irreversibly" solving the issue, experts deem that Japanese efforts have fallen short both in terms of recognition and compensation for all those who suffered irreparable psychological and physical damage.

Bok-dong, who was sent to serve Japanese troops in various Asian countries at the age of 14, also deplored the approach taken by the South Korean government to deal with the issue.

"The South Korean government and the South Korean president did not listen to their own citizens. If she is a representative of our government, she should have come to us and talked to us first, and consider how to restore our dignity and honor, and announce in front of the press that they would provide proper compensation and legal reparation based on responsibility," she said.

Japan's attempts to remove the comfort woman statue located near the Japanese embassy in Seoul were also criticized by Bok-Dong, who spent many years unable to talk about the suffering she endured.

"No one has the right to remove the peace monument. The peace monument is a symbol of history. Every country has a history. When our next generation is growing up, they need to know the history, how we have lived," she said.

"This is not something a government can handle or manipulate," she added. (PNA/Xinhua)

JFM/RSM

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