Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

3 November 2008

Japan urged to restore dignity to WWII "comfort women"

Japan urged to restore dignity to WWII "comfort women"
The UN Human Rights Committee has called on the Government of the Japan to restore dignity to the survivors of Japan’s military sexual slavery system.

The UN Human Rights Committee issued its concluding observations and recommendations to the Government of Japan on Thursday, expressing "concern that the State party [Japan] has still not accepted its responsibility for the 'comfort women' system during World War II."

The UN Human Rights Committee considered Japan's report on its implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) on 15 October.

The Committee recommended that:
"The State party should accept legal responsibility and apologize unreservedly for the 'comfort women' system in a way that is acceptable to the majority of victims and restores their dignity, prosecute perpetrators who are still alive, take immediate and effective legislative and administrative measures to adequately compensate all survivors as a matter of right, educate students and the general public about the issue, and to refute and sanction any attempts to defame victims or to deny the events."
This recommendation follows resolutions passed by the US, the Netherlands, Canada, and the 27 member states of the EU urging the government of Japan to provide a public, unambiguous and formal apology for the crimes committed against these women.

Amnesty International, which has been working on the cases of the "comfort women" as part of its Stop Violence Against Women campaign, strongly welcomed this recommendation. The organization is calling on the Government of Japan to:
  • accept full responsibility for the “comfort women” system in a way that publicly acknowledges the harm that these women suffered and restores the dignity of the survivors;
  • apologize fully for the crimes committed against the women;
  • provide adequate and effective compensation to survivors and their immediate families directly from the government;
  • include an accurate account of the sexual slavery system in Japanese educational textbooks on World War II.


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