President Moon Jae-in apologized to the public on Memorial Day, which fell on Sunday, while calling the suicide of a female sergeant after filing complaint for sexual harassment a result of “bad practices in barracks.” Officials in the presidential office are reportedly demanding that investigation into military culture including sexual harassment be conducted in the wake of the incident. Growing voices are calling for far-reaching reform of the military, as bad practices in the barracks have reached the boiling point as military insiders would often cover up serious incidents within the military.
Attending the 66th Memorial Day ceremony at the Seoul National Cemetery in Seoul’s Dongjak district on the day, President Moon said, “I am telling the public that I deeply feel sorry about cases of substandard meals in the military, and some bad practices remaining in barracks that resulted in a deplorable and unfair death.” He went on to say, “We will correct (bad habits) without fail to ensure not only military service-people’s human rights but also natural security,” adding, “I believe that our military has the capability to change and reform on its own to live up to people’s expectations.”
According to the results of a survey by the National Human Rights Commission, which were released last year, female soldiers who replied “problems and difficulties regarding sexual violence in the barracks are being addressed through a fair process” accounted for only 48.9 percent of the respondents, down from 75.8 percent in the 2012 survey.
Hyung-Jun Hwang firstname.lastname@example.org