FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ten Vietnamese Women Appeal to Ban Ki-moon for UN investigation into South Korean Military’s Systemic Rape During the Vietnam War
Survivors of wartime assaults call on Secretary General to launch UN Human Rights Council investigation into South Korea’s systemic rape and sexual assault of thousands of Vietnamese women during the Vietnam War.
WASHINGTON, October 14, 2015 – Voices of Vietnam, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about Vietnamese women who were raped and sexually assaulted by South Korean troops during the Vietnam War, today announced that ten Vietnamese survivors of rape and sexual assault at the hands of South Korean soldiers during the Vietnam War today sent a letter to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calling for a UN Human Rights Council investigation into the crimes committed against them. The full text of the letter is available on the Voices of Vietnam website at www.VietnamVoices.org, direct download is here.
“Earlier this year, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance cited the Republic of Korea for discrimination in its own country,” the women said in their letter. “We humbly request that the UN Human Rights Council also investigate Korea’s history, including what has been done to us so that our story can be shared with the world. We do this not out of a desire for revenge, but rather to allow for healing and reconciliation.”
The women also ask the Secretary General, a noted champion of global women’s rights and the first South Korean to hold the UN leadership post, to convey their wishes for an apology to President Park Geun-hye. President Park’s father, former President Park Chung-hee, deployed over 300,000 South Korean troops to fight in Vietnam.
“We believe that in you we have a sympathetic ear to our grievances. We have watched as you have stood up for women that have been victims of systemic sexual assault. Yet, as we read your words, it pains us that our stories are not among those you recount. Is our trauma any less real?
“We have faced great personal tragedy in our lives, but have found a way to persevere. For all that we have suffered, we need only to look into the faces of the children born of our trauma and our grandchildren born to them to see great hope for the future. We appeal to you so that we might find justice.”
One signatory of the letter, Nguyen Thi Bach Tuyet, started a petition on Change.org calling on President Park to apologize for the crimes committed against her by South Korean troops. The petition currently has over 26,000 signatures.
Ms. Nguyen and three other signatories of the letter will also participate in a 9:00 AM ET press conference on Thursday, October 15, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Co-chaired by Former Congressman Anh (Joseph) Cao of Louisiana, the first Vietnamese-American member of Congress, and Cyndi Nguyen, Executive Director of VIET New Orleans, Voices of Vietnam provides a platform for those that have spent years in silence.
For more information, please visit www.VietnamVoices.org