Seoul raises sex slave issue at UN

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Seoul raises sex slave issue at UN

Korea demanded that Japan take “legal responsibility” for Korean women forced into sexual slavery during World War II, formally raising the issue at a UN meeting in New York, a foreign ministry official said yesterday.

“These systematic rapes and sexual slavery constitute war crimes and also, under defined circumstances, crimes against humanity,” Shin Dong-ik, South Korea’s deputy chief envoy to the UN, was quoted as saying by a Korean foreign ministry official. Shin made the comments during the 66th session of the UN General Assembly held on Tuesday in New York.

Japan, which ruled the Korean Peninsula as a colony from 1910 to 1945, has acknowledged that its wartime military used sex slaves, euphemistically called “comfort women,” but refuses to compensate them individually, arguing that the issue was settled by a 1965 normalization treaty.

“So the issue cannot be regarded as being fully resolved by the [1965] Korea-Japan Claims Settlement Agreement and the Japanese government’s legal responsibility still remains,” Shin was quoted as saying by the ministry official.

It was the first time that a Korean diplomat mentioned Japan’s “legal responsibility” on the issue at a UN meeting, the official said on the condition of anonymity.

The diplomatic salvo is seen as a get-tough measure as Japan has refused to accept Korea’s Sept. 15 proposal to hold bilateral talks to discuss the issue of compensation for the Korean victims.

The issue resurfaced in August after the Constitutional Court ruled that it is unconstitutional for the Seoul government to make no specific effort to settle the issue with Tokyo.

Up to 200,000 women, mostly Koreans, were coerced into sexual servitude at front-line Japanese brothels during World War II.

Japan’s wartime sexual enslavement is becoming an increasingly urgent priority as the victims are elderly and fear they may die before they receive compensation or an apology from Japan.


한글 관련 기사 [뉴시스]

정부, 유엔총회에서 위안부 문제제기

정부는 지난 11일(현지시간) 미국 뉴욕에서 개최된 제66차 유엔총회에서 제2차 세계대전 당시 군대위안부 문제 등을 제기했다.

외교통상부는 우리 정부 대표인 신동익 주유엔차석대사가 제66차 유엔총회 제3위원회 `여성 지위 향상` 의제 토의에서 위안부 문제를 포함한 성폭력 문제의 심각성을 지적했다고 12일 밝혔다.

신 차석대사는 "전시 성폭력 문제는 과거 역사가 침묵해 온 문제일 뿐 아니라 현시대의 가장 잔혹한 형태의 인권 침해 중 하나"라며 "한국 정부는 특히 제2차 세계대전 당시 군대위안부 문제 등을 포함한 조직적인 강간과 성노예 문제에 대해 깊은 우려를 갖고 있다"고 말했다.

그는 "한국 정부는 유엔과 모든 회원국이 분쟁하 여성 보호를 위해 모든 조치를 취하고 희생자들을 위한 실효적인 구제조치 및 배상 등을 위해 최선의 노력을 다할 것을 촉구한다"고 강조했다.

이에 일본 정부대표는 공식발언을 통해 "위안부 문제가 위안부 여성의 존엄성에 큰 모욕이었음을 인정한다"면서도 "제2차 세계대전 중 성노예 피해자에 대한 배상 문제와 관련해서는 샌프란시스코 강화조약 및 이후 양자협정에 의해 법적으로 해결됐다는 것이 일본의 입장"이라고 밝혔다.

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