‘comfort women’

by tobybee

Over the last couple of years there has been increased attention being paid to the ‘comfort women’ – the women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Government during World War II. In the lead-up to the August anniversary of the end of WWII, Amnesty International is organising an internet-based campaign to put pressure on the Australian government to put pressure on the Japanese government to apologise and accept legal responsibility for what was done to these women.

here’s a blurb from the website:

In the run-up to the August anniversary of the end of World War II, Amnesty International is calling for justice for former ‘comfort women’ in Japan.

During the war, up to 200,000 women and girls were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military. These women and girls were kept in ‘comfort stations’ in China, Taiwan, Borneo, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), Indonesia and many of the Pacific Islands.

Women were abducted, deceived or sold by extremely poor parents. The majority of woman were under the age of 20 and some were girls as young as 12. These women and girls were kept for months or years on end.

The women who made it home at the end of the war often kept silent about their experiences and suffered severe psychological and emotional trauma. Many survivors died without talking about what happened to them. In recent years, however, a number of women, now very elderly, have courageously been speaking out. They hope that justice can still be achieved in their lifetime.

The Japanese Government’s apologies so far have been inadequate and the government has refused to accept any legal responsibility. Over the past few years there has been growing international pressure on the Japanese Government to accept responsibility and apologise for the abuses of ‘comfort women’.

Sixty years on, this lack of justice for ‘comfort women’ is a human rights abuse. Given the age of the survivors, there is an urgent need to act on this issue. We must never forget the atrocities committed against these women. Japan still has the opportunity to right this terrible wrong.

We’re calling on the Australian Government to pass a motion in the House of Representatives urging the Government of Japan to:

Accept full responsibility for the abuses of ‘comfort women’

Officially apologise for the crimes committed against the women

Provide adequate compensation to ‘comfort women’ or their immediate families

Accurately describe the sexual slavery system in Japanese textbooks on World War II

As Jews, it’s particularly important that we pay attention and take action to help other peoples who have been made victims of state violence. This is all the more so when we’re talking about other peoples victimised as part of World War II.

So it’s important to go to the website and make a butterfly, and let people know what happened and what still needs to be done.