15 August 2023
Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation (TWRF) and other human rights groups held a press conference on Monday, the International Memorial Day for “Comfort Women”, asking the government to formally recognize the history of sexual slavery during World War II. The coalition says that the topic has been absent from Taiwan’s public discourse for too long.
The TWRF has been working on the issue of “comfort women” since 1992. They filed a lawsuit against the Japanese government, who refused to confront its colonial past. The foundation also organized workshops to provide mental health support to the victims. In May, Taiwan’s last “comfort woman” passed away without receiving a formal apology and reparation from the Japanese government.
The TWRF demands the history of sexual slavery and violation to women’s rights be included in the high school curriculum, as well as Taiwan’s national archive. The group also demands the government to allocate more resources and consider building a museum dedicated to the history of the “comfort women”.
The TWRF CEO Tu Ying-chiu (杜瑛秋) says that the 59 victims in Taiwan were the forerunners of Taiwan’s #MeToo movement who demanded justice. She says the government’s efforts to tackle the issue are falling short.
The National Human Rights Commission member Chi Hui-jung (紀惠容) says the history must not be forgotten. She urges people to replace “comfort women” with “military sex slaves” without sanitizing what these women had lived through. #