Groups to press ahead with quest to get ‘comfort women’ documents on UNESCO register


Civil groups in and outside South Korea will continue their joint campaign to get documents related to the “comfort women” listed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register, a key figure in the movement said Tuesday.

The campaign will not be affected by a recent agreement between the Japanese and South Korean governments to settle the issue of Korean females forced into wartime brothels for Japanese troops, Ewha Womans University professor Shin Hei-soo said in a seminar in Seoul.

The documents deserve a listing on the Memory of the World Register, given their value as historical records and the need to preserve them, Shin stressed.

The groups in South Korea and eight other countries are working hard ahead of the application deadline in May to ensure a listing next year, Shin added.

In the Dec. 28 agreement, Tokyo and Seoul not only confirmed an end to the comfort women dispute but also vowed to refrain from accusing each other on the issue in the international arena.

Regarding the campaign for a Memory of the World listing, however, the South Korean government takes the position that it cannot intervene in the private sector-led initiative.

Also at the Seoul seminar, Yoon Mee-hyang, who leads a group supporting former comfort women, said her group will work with partners in other countries to urge the United Nations to conduct an investigation to uncover the truth about the comfort women and discuss the issue at the U.N. General Assembly.