Museum for 'comfort women' to open in December
A civic group said Monday it will open a museum for “comfort women,” the sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during Japanese occupation, in Mapo, northern Seoul on Dec. 10. The date coincides with Human Rights Day.
The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery has long planned to open such a museum dedicated to comfort women and finally took the first step on Sunday, on the eve of the 66th Liberation Day, by holding an event to celebrate the designation of the construction site.
“Today is the day we raised the comfort women issue 20 years ago for the first time,” Korean Council Secretary-General Yun Mi-hyang said during the event. “We have this strong urge to open the museum as soon as possible.”
Victims are getting old and have passed away one after another without receiving an official apology or compensation from the Japanese government. A proper history education for young Koreans is required to help them understand the violation of women’s human rights, she said.
Some 100 activists, citizens and scholars along with surviving former comfort women gathered in the small two-story building to be transformed into the War and Women’s Human Rights Museum.
The group initially began discussions on the construction of the museum in 2003 after former comfort women asked to help create a world without any more war or violence as people see and learn from the truth about what happened to them.
It successfully raised funds for construction and the Seoul City Government permitted the location site inside Seodaemun Independence Park in 2006.
Ensuing opposition from the Association for Surviving Family Members of Martyrs for the Country and Korea Liberation Association put the plan on hold since November 2008. They argued it would defame the patriotic martyrs enshrined at the park.
While the plan was pending, 11 former comfort women died, and the civic group decided to search for another location and finally settled on the current site.
As the construction requires 900 million won for remodeling and future operating expenses, the group said it will launch a new fundraising campaign. For more information, visit www.womenandwar.net.
The Korea Times 2011.8.15