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Civic body to launch center in U.S. to pay tribute to iconic sex slavery victim

Diplomacy 16:36 January 28, 2020

SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Yonhap) -- A civic organization representing Korean women forced to work at Japan's wartime military brothels said Tuesday it is pushing ahead with a project to establish a center in the United States to pay tribute to Kim Bok-dong, a late human rights activist and symbolic figure among the victims.

Tuesday marked the first anniversary of Kim's death. Kim, who died on Jan. 28 last year at age 92, had been considered a symbolic figure in Korea and worldwide for her monumental work in disseminating the truth about sexual enslavement and her active role in promoting women's rights issues, especially for those who have experienced wartime sexual violence in recent decades.

The Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan has launched a campaign to raise funds of 2 billion won (around US$1.7 million) to build the center, whose location has yet to be decided.

It is collecting contributions from firms, labor unions and other various organizations as well as individuals.

According to the civic body, formerly known as the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, the envisioned launch of the U.S. center is aimed at celebrating the 30th anniversary of its founding.

Established in 1990, the Seoul-based council has led a weekly rally in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul calling on the Japanese government to apologize to comfort women and provide compensation.

The council said the Kim Bok-dong Center will have online and offline archives, exhibition facilities for wartime sexual violence, including comfort women for the Imperial Japanese Army, and educational facilities. It plans to dedicate the center by Nov. 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women designated by the United Nations.

An altar for the late Kim Bok-dong, a victim of Japan's wartime sexual enslavement, is set up at Severance Hospital in western Seoul on Jan. 29, 2019. Kim died the previous day after a fight with cancer. (Yonhap)

namsh@yna.co.kr
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