Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Filipinas in New York Bring Awareness About Comfort Women

Filipinas in New York Bring Awareness About Comfort Women

New York---In a nationally coordinated event with other progressive Filipino women's organizations, namely, babae in San Francisco and Pinay Sa Seattle, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) gathered with over 50 concerned citizens to learn about the burning issue of the Lolas formerly known as "comfort women" in WWII.

The sexual slavery ensued by the Japanese Imperial Army during their occupation of the Philippines in World War II has been on the back burner for almost 65 years. "Comfort women" from all over, Indonesia, Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines, have been denied rightful compensation and recognition for the violent war crimes systematically inflicted on them during WWII.

"Many of the Lolas are now dying without seeing the justice, apologies and acknowledgment for the torture they experienced in their lifetimes," Valerie Francisco, secretary general of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment stated.

The film screening and discussion touched on the recently passed H.R. 121 introduced by Representative Mike Honda which called on the Japanese government to formally apologize and acknowledge the forced mobilization of thousands of Asian women for the sexual slavery of Japanese soldiers in WWII.

As resolutions quickly gain support in countries like Australia, the United States and the Philippines, those who attended the screening sponsored by FiRE ardently demanded a response from the Japanese government to recognize and fulfill the cries of Lolas in the Philippines and others across Asia.

"The Lolas have lived with these sexual crimes of imperialist wars of aggression for far too long," Francisco added, "If the issue of the comfort women in WWII is not addressed properly by the Japanese government, they are aquiescent to the systematic gender violence that continues in today's vapid yet ubiquitous wars on terror happening all over the globe."

Working with Lila Pilipina, an organization in the Philippines under GABRIELA Philippines, the national campaign for the Lolas will continue to put pressure on both the Philippine and Japanese government to act on the issue.

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