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Letter to the Secretary-General of the UN

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Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations


Dear Secretary-General of the UN,   Warm greetings.

This is a written inquiry from the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan.     The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan (hereafter, the Korean Council) is an NGO that has been dealing with the Japanese military sexual slavery(“comfort women”) survivors on this issue since 1990.

 

We would like to confirm the facts in relation to the Japanese media reports released on 28 May, 2017 on the UN Secretary General's comments of 2015 Korea-Japan agreement on the ‘comfort women’ and of the Special Rapporteur on Privacy.

 

Followings are some information for your reference.

We do not want to see that those media reports harm the prestige of the UN.

So, please read the following carefully and reply to the official position of the Secretary General of the United Nations on above mentioned issues.

We look forward to hearing from you. Thank you very much for your cooperation in advance.  Best regards,

The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan

[Reference]

 

As a NGO having a consultative status to the UN, the Korean Council has been making our position clear to the UN through various channels on the Japanese military sexual slavery issue including 2015 Korea-Japan agreement on the ‘comfort women’ issue announced on December 28, 2015.

You can refer to an attached file to find out our position on the 2015 Korea-Japan agreement, which was submitted to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on 12 May 2017 in response to the reply of the Government of Japan to letter sent by special rapporteur for follow-up to concluding observations the Human Rights Committee dated 19 April 2016.

 

The newly elected president of Korea also expressed sentiments of the Korean people regarding this issue saying that the agreement hardly can be accepted by the Korean People and the survivors.

Followings are the major problems of the 2015 Korea-Japan agreement that the UN Human Rights Bodies have stressed through recommendations(1)after announcement of conclusion the agreement:

  1. a) exclusion of survivors’ involvement in the course of negotiation procedure;
  2. b) The Japanese government’s denial of systematic war crime by Japan in World War II
  3. c) nonfulfillment of legal responsibilities recommended by the UN Human Rights bodies including an official state apology and reparations.

 

Furthermore, the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) recently made recommendations to the Government of Korea on the 2015 Korea-Japan on ‘comfort women’ as follows (CAT/C/SR.1538 and CAT/C/SR.1539):

  1. The State party should:
  2. d) Revise the Agreement of 28 December 2015 between the Republic of Korea and Japan in order to ensure that the surviving victims of sexual slavery during World War II are provided with redress, including the right to compensation and rehabilitation and the right to truth, reparation and assurances of non-repetitions, in keeping with article 14 of the Convention.

However, nevertheless above mentioned recommendations, it's very regretable that we have to express our concerns on media article saying that the UN Secretary General Supports and welcomes S. Korea-Japan Agreement on Wartime Sex Slavery. (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/news_In_detail.htm?No=127623&id=In)

 

The first article was released by Japanese media called Kyodo News and Sankei newspaper citing the announcement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to these articles, the UN Secretary General said that the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on Privacy on Anti-terror bill of Japanese government is not necessarily reflecting the general opinion of the UN. The Secretary General also added that the UN Special Rapporteur is acting in its private capacity, which is differ from the UN.

If the two contents mentioned above is accurate, it is very regrettable for us.

 

Firstly, in relation to the 2015 Korea-Japan agreement, the media also reported that Ban, Ki-moon, Secretary General of the UN, supports and welcomes the agreement at that time.

However, when Ban, Ki-moon, former secretary general of the UN, met one of our surviving victims, Gil, Wonok, and representative of the Korean council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan on March 11th 2016 at the UN Headquarter, “There has been misunderstanding on my welcoming statement on the 2015 Korea-Japan agreement. What I was trying to say is to give value on the efforts by both governments to reduce pains of victims. I announced the statement hoping for this agreement should be carried out in the way to respect human rights’ and dignity of human being in accordance with the Charter of the UN” he explained. In addition, when he visited ‘House of Peace’, which is a shelter for victims, to meet with victims shortly after he leaves his office, he said that it is vital for being sincere apology must be accepted by victims.

 

Secondly, in relation to the UN Secretary General's interpretation of the UN Special Rapporteur's status and recommendations, if what has been reported on the media is true, it would harm the UN’s credibility of international community including member states with the UN. In particular, It could be interpreted that numerous commendations by the UN Human Rights Bodies including Human Rights Council on many human rights violation issues such as Japanese military sexual slavery during World War II don't necessarily to be respected and implemented.

 

We respect all the hard works have been done by the UN to promote and to ensure Human rights. We hope you to keep up the great work to promote and to ensure human rights around the world, and we hope to see realization of justice not to only the victims of Japanese military sexual slavery, but also all the victims of sexual violence and slavery in conflicts.


(1) * March 7, The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women(CEDAW) : ▷The Committee regrets that the bilateral agreement on Japanese military sexual slavery on December 28 did not fully adopt a victim-centred approach ▷The Committee urges Japanese government to provide official apologies and reparations. ▷ The Committee urges Japanese government to Ensure that its leaders and public officials desist from making disparaging statements regarding responsibility, which have the effect of retraumatising victims

* March 10, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights : ▷Only the women who survived sexual slavery by Japanese military forces during World War II themselves can judge whether they have received genuine redress ▷It is fundamentally important that the relevant authorities reach out to these courageous and dignified women.

* March 11, UN rights experts (Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment : ▷We believe the agreement between Japan and South Korea falls short of meeting the demands of survivors ▷ The agreement does not meet standards of State accountability for gross human rights violations ▷ It was reached without a proper consultation process with Neither the surviving victims nor the organizations representing them for more than 20 years ▷ An unequivocal official apology recognizing the full responsibility of the then Japanese Government and military, as well as adequate reparations, would protect and uphold the victims’ right to truth, justice and reparation ▷We are also deeply concerned that the Republic of Korea may remove a statue commemorating not only the historical issue and legacy of the ‘comfort women’ but also symbolizing the survivors’ long search for justice ▷ This issue will not be considered resolved so long as all the victims, including from other Asian countries, remain unheard, their expectations unmet and their wounds left wide open

 

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정의기억재단 17-05-29 10:19
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