“Comfort Women” activists attempt to stop far-right counter-rallies

Lee Na-young, chairman of the Korea Justice and Remembrance Council on Military Sexual Slavery Issues in Japan, center, holds up a petition submitted to the Korea National Human Rights Commission before the commission in the central Seoul on Wednesday, calling on the commission to prevent far-right groups from staging counter-rallies against the weekly council rallies near the Japanese embassy in Seoul. [NEWS1]

Activists, who defend victims of wartime sexual slavery in Japan by holding weekly rallies near the Japanese embassy in central Seoul, submitted a petition to the National Human Rights Commission on Wednesday. Korean man, asking them to stop the counter-rallies organized by far-right groups. .

“Far-right groups have taken over the area for Wednesday rallies for a year, denying historical facts of Japanese military sex slavery and insulting and defaming the victims and citizens who organize the Wednesday protests,” An activist representing the Korea Justice and Remembrance Council on issues of military sexual slavery by Japan said at a press conference outside the commission headquarters in central Seoul.

“They’ve been threatening us for over a year [and] the police do not use active restraints or take appropriate measures, ”the activist said. “We urge the National Human Rights Commission to take action to resolve this anti-human rights situation and the inaction of the police and to make appeals on the basis of the law on the Commission National Human Rights Council of Korea.

Section 48 of the Act allows the commission to ask the defendant, even before a decision has been rendered by the commission, to cease an action alleged to violate the rights of the plaintiff, once a request for it has been made. matter has been submitted to the committee.

The activist group is holding its weekly rallies on Wednesday near the Japanese embassy in central Seoul, demanding an apology and compensation from Tokyo for victims of Japanese military sex slavery, euphemistically referred to as “comfort women,” since 1992.

But in June 2020, conservative groups, including one called Freedom Union, began to rally in one place, demanding the removal of the Korean Council. These counter-rallies began when the board got bogged down in a financial mismanagement controversy.

The controversy began after Lee Yong-soo, a 91-year-old former comfort woman, said in May 2020 that the survivors had been exploited politically and financially by her former leader, the representative of the ruling Democratic Party (DP), Yoon Mee-hyang, for 30 years. Yoon was later suspended from her DP membership and charged with embezzling donations meant to help victims. His trial is ongoing.

In Korea, groups organizing rallies report their rally schedule to local police. Because the system operates on a first-come, first-served basis, conservative groups were able to secure the location by recording their gatherings in front of the Korean Council.

“The [verbal] comfort women sexual harassment [by the conservative groups] is serious, ”Korean Council President Lee Na-young said at Wednesday’s press conference. “The words they use to describe the comfort of female victims are too vulgar, we cannot repeat them verbatim here today. Their gatherings are not meant to express what they believe in, but to hinder the weekly Wednesday council gatherings. ”

The council held its weekly rally near the Japanese embassy on Wednesday and visited the Foreign Ministry headquarters in central Seoul to commemorate the 30th anniversary of its rallies, which began on January 8, 1992, according to the board.

Students and members of civic groups supporting victims of wartime Japanese sexual slavery hold up a photo of a deceased victim as they protest near the Japanese embassy in Seoul on Wednesday, marking the 30th anniversary weekly gatherings. [NEWS1]

Students and members of civic groups supporting victims of wartime Japanese sexual slavery hold up a photo of a deceased victim as they protest near the Japanese embassy in Seoul on Wednesday, marking the 30th anniversary weekly gatherings. [NEWS1]

BY ESTHER CHUNG [[email protected]]