(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Amnesty International USA today commended President Obama for publicly raising the issue of “Comfort Women” during his recent visit to East Asia.
According to media reports, President Obama referred to the “Comfort Women,” stating: “Those women were violated in ways that even in the midst of war was shocking. They deserve be heard, they deserve to be respected.”
Over 200,000 of these women and girls were trapped, deceived or otherwise forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army in the different occupied countries throughout the Asia Pacific region before and during World War II. They were kept in Japanese military camps where they were repeatedly raped and brutalized for months or years on end. The vast majority were under 20 and some were as young as 12.
By speaking out on this issue, President Obama has added his voice to those of the survivors, who for decades have been denied justice, truth and reparation.
Amnesty International hopes that President Obama’s words will be followed by concrete action to press the Japanese Government to accept full legal responsibility for the crimes against these women, and to provide them with an unequivocal and sincere apology and adequate and effective reparation.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million members in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.