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‘Comfort Women’ Urge EU to Pressure Japan

Posted November. 08, 2007 03:03,   


Three survivors of sex slavery in Japanese camps during World War II testified to the European Parliament for the first time on Nov. 6.

The three women - Gil Won-ok (79) from Korea, Ellen van der Ploeg (84) from the Netherlands, and Menen Castillo (78) from the Philippines – reported their suffering and the brutal atrocities committed by the Japanese military before the European Parliament on Tuesday.

Including Spanish member of the European Parliament Raul Romeva (Green MEP), the hearing was attended by around 50 prominent personnel, comprising lawmakers, parliamentary officials, members of human rights watch groups and journalists from around the world.

The three victims testified about their hardship and humiliation, incurred by the Japanese military, before the European Parliament and urged the EU to pressure Japan to issue a wider apology for the abuse of women by its military.

Presiding over the hearing, Raul Romeva said, “The European Parliament is nearing an agreement to include a resolution on sex slavery in the agenda for the plenary session, which will be held in France next week. If it is included in the agenda, it is highly likely to be adopted as a resolution.” He added that he delivered an open letter to the European Commission to urge the need for a resolution, calling on Tokyo to apologize and provide compensation.

Amnesty International hosted the hearing as part of its campaign tour in the European region, in which victims of sex slavery by the Japanese military will visit European countries to make public statements on the issue.

Since its 2005 report, entitled “Military Control of ‘Comfort Women,’ the international organization has been campaigning for comfort women who have been awaiting justice for sixty-two years.

The three women will continue their speaking tour in Berlin on Nov. 8 and in London on Nov. 12, before the parliament and human rights groups raise the “comfort women” issue.