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FM Yun skips 'comfort women' issue in human rights speech

All Headlines 13:40 March 03, 2016

SEOUL, March 3 (Yonhap) -- Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se made no mention of Japan's sexual enslavement of Korean women during World War II in a U.N. speech this week that highlighted gross human rights abuses in North Korea.

In a keynote address to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday (local time), Yun deplored the North's human rights situation, saying many North Koreans are risking their lives in search of "freedom and human dignity."

The speech was also expected to touch on the issue of the Korean women forced to work in front-line brothels for the Japanese military during the war, as it came only months after South Korea and Japan reached an agreement in December to resolve Tokyo's past abuses.

Although Yun pledged South Korea's continued efforts to tackle "sexual violence against women during times of conflict," he stopped short of mentioning the Korean victims who are euphemistically called "comfort women."

Under the deal, the two sides agreed to refrain from criticizing each other over the dispute at the U.N. and other international forums if the other terms of the agreement are fully implemented.

Japan acknowledged its responsibility for the crime and offered an apology to the victims, as well as 1 billion yen (US$8.8 million) in compensation to the South Korean women.

hague@yna.co.kr
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