Aug. 4, 2011 - Editorial of Chosun Daily
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2014-01-14 12:25:44  |  Hit 976
Years of resentment for the victims of the Korean War abduction

Editorial of Chosun Daily
Aug. 4, 2011

The government has recognized 55 civilians, including Kim Sang-deok, former chair of the Special Investigation Committee of Anti-national Activities in the National Assembly, who were forcibly taken into the North against their will during the Korean War as victims of the North Korean abductions. It was the first time in 61 years that the government has officially recognized victims of the North Korean abductions and investigated their personal information and the date and place of their abduction in detail.

This has finally opened the door to restoring the honor of the abductees and their families who have lived in years of resentment as people looked down on them. People did not care whether they were abducted or defected to the North willingly. All that mattered to them was that the abductees were in North Korea. The families of the abductees have faced a great number of disadvantages in life, including obstacles to working as governmental officers and going overseas, on the top of the pain of being parted from their loved ones.

The North Korean regime has made false claims about the abduction of civilians during the Korean War, saying that no one has been abducted, and that they all came to the North willingly. However, the large majority of the Korean War abductees, estimated to number around 80,000, were forcibly taken to the North by the North Korean Army and their sympathizers. 29 people, 53% of the 55 people who have been recognized as abductees, were from Seoul. They were all dragged to North Korea without any protection from the government as the government fled Seoul two days after the invasion of the North.

The abduction of civilians by North Korea is a war crime in violation of the Geneva Conventions. The Conventions define the responsibility of protecting civilians during the War. However, all previous Korean governments did not give attention to finding the truth about the abduction of civilians and following up with the necessary action. In line with the June 15th North–South Joint Declaration in 2000, the Kim Dae-jung government sent back 63 North Korean long-term prisoners, but did not request the repatriation of South Korean civilians held in North Korea.

The National Committee on Investigating Abductions by North Korea during the Korean War and Restoring Honor to the Victims under the authority of the Prime Minister needs to inform the public about the procedure and method of making reports on the Korean War abductees, which can be received in offices in each city and province. The Committee should not stop operating in 2013 and should continue to make efforts to find more victims of the abductions. Most abductees are assumed to have passed away due to malnutrition and forced labor. Even if they are alive, they no longer have much time left.

The families of the abductees have just one hope. That is to find out the fate of their family members in North Korea as soon as possible. The government needs to demand that the North allows families in South Korea to exchange letters and arrange a reunion meeting if the abductees are still alive. If the abductees have already passed away, the government must make sure to bring back their remains.
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64 Jul. 28, 2011 - Day of Remembrance
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62 Jun.27, 2011 - If only I could know his fate
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61 Jun. 27, 2011 - Just want to know their fate
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60 May 14, 2011- HRNK's Report on the Abduction
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59 May5,2010-Resolve mother’s 60-year resentment
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58 May 5, 2011- 12 Nations to Discuss Abduction
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57 Apr. 28, 2011 - Event of Reciting the Names
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55 Dec.14, 2010- First Attempt of the Government
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54 Dec.13, 2010 - Opening Ceremony of Committee
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53 Dec.13, 2010 - Establishment of the Committee
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