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European Parliament resolution of 13 December 2007 on Justice for the 'Comfort Women'

P6_TA-PROV(2007)0632
Comfort women

European Parliament resolution of 13 December 2007 on Justice for the 'Comfort Women' (sex slaves in Asia before and during World War II)            (日本語はこちら)

The European Parliament,


– having regard to the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in 2007,


– having regard to the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women and Children (1921),
of which Japan is a signatory,


– having regard to Forced Labour Convention No. 29 (1930), ratified by Japan,


– having regard to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security
(2000),


– having regard to the report by Gay McDougall, UN Special Rapporteur on Systematic Rape, Sexual
Slavery and Slave-like Practices during Armed Conflict (22 June 1998),


– having regard to the conclusions and recommendations of the 38th session of the UN Committee
Against Torture (9-10 May 2007),


– having regard to the Report of a Study of Dutch Government Documents on the Forced Prostitution of Dutch Women in the Dutch East Indies During the Japanese Occupation, The Hague (2004),


– having regard to the resolutions of the American Congress, adopted on 30 July 2007, and of the
Canadian Parliament, adopted on 29 November 2007,


– having regard to Rule 115 of its Rules of Procedure,


A. whereas the government of Japan, during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific
Islands from the 1930s until the end of World War II, officially commissioned the acquisition of young
women, who became known to the world as ianfu or ‘comfort women’, for the sole purpose of sexual
servitude to its Imperial Armed Forces,


B. whereas historians conclude that over 100 000 women were enslaved,


C. whereas the ‘comfort women’ system included gang rape, forced abortions, humiliation, and sexual
violence resulting in mutilation, death or eventual suicide, in one of the largest cases of human trafficking in the 20th century,


D. whereas the dozens of ‘comfort women’ cases brought before Japanese courts have all ended in the dismissal of plaintiffs’ claims for compensation, despite court judgements acknowledging the Imperial
Armed Forces’ direct and indirect involvement, and the state’s responsibility,


E. whereas most of the victims of the ‘comfort women’ system have passed away, and the remaining
survivors are 80 or more years of age;


F. whereas over the past years numerous high-ranking members and officials of the Japanese
Government have made apologetic statements on the ‘comfort women’ system, while some Japanese
officials have recently expressed a regrettable desire to dilute or rescind those statements,


G. whereas the full extent of the sexual slavery system has never been fully disclosed by the government of Japan and some new required readings used in Japanese schools try to minimise the tragedy of the
‘comfort women’ and other Japanese war crimes during World War II,


H. whereas the mandate of the Asian Women’s Fund, a government-initiated private foundation whose
aim was the implementation of programs and projects to compensate for the abuse and suffering of the ‘comfort women’, came to an end on 31 March 2007,


1. Welcomes the excellent relationship between the European Union and Japan based on the mutually
shared values of a multi-party democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights;


2. Expresses its solidarity with the women who were victims of the ‘comfort women’ system through the duration of World War II;


3. Welcomes the statements by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono in 1993 and by Prime Minister
Tomiichi Murayama in 1994 on ‘comfort women’, as well as the Japanese parliament’s resolutions of
1995 and 2005 expressing apologies for wartime victims, including victims of the ‘comfort women’
system;


4. Welcomes the Japanese Government’s initiative to establish, in 1995, the now-dissolved Asian
Women’s Fund, a largely government-funded private foundation, which distributed some ‘atonement
money’ to several hundred ‘comfort women’, but considers that this humanitarian initiative
cannot satisfy the victims’ claims of legal recognition and reparation under public international law,
as stated by the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Gay McDougall, in her 1998 report;


5. Calls on the Japanese Government formally to acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical and legal
responsibility, in a clear and unequivocal manner, for its Imperial Armed Force’s coercion of young
women into sexual slavery, known to the world as ‘comfort women’, during its colonial and wartime
occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930s until the end of World War II;


6. Calls on the Japanese Government to implement effective administrative mechanisms to provide
reparations to all surviving victims of the ‘comfort women’ system and the families of its deceased
victims;


7. Calls on the Japanese National Assembly (Diet) to take legal measures to remove existing
obstacles to obtaining reparations before Japanese courts; in particular, the right of individuals to claim
reparations against the government should be expressly recognized in national law, and cases for
reparations for the survivors of sexual slavery, as a crime under international law, should be prioritized,
taking into account the age of the survivors;


8. Calls on the government of Japan to refute publicly any claims that the subjugation and enslavement
of ‘comfort women’ never occurred;


9. Encourages the Japanese people and government to take further steps to recognize the full history of
their nation, as is the moral duty of all countries, and to foster awareness in Japan of its actions in the
1930s and 1940s, including in relation to ‘comfort women’; calls on the government of Japan to educate current and future generations about those events;


10. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Japanese Government and Parliament, the UN Human Rights Council, the governments of the ASEAN states, the Democratic People’s Republic of
Korea, the Republic of South Korea, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan and Timor-Leste, and to the Council, the Commission and the Member States.

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