October 24, 2020

North and South Korea: Toujours triste

Events at end of April, beginning of May highlight ongoing struggle for victims’ recognition on Korean Peninsula

The end of April continues to see a major focus in Washington on all things Korean, North and South. That indefatigable champion for North Korean human rights, Suzanne Scholte, will be bringing North Korea Freedom Week back to the nation’s capital after a hiatus of several years in Seoul. Human rights activists will again chase down legislators, as they did in their successful lobbying for the 2004 Leach-Lantos-Brownback North Korean Human Rights Act, urging them not to forget the huddled masses yearning to breathe free in North Korea.

This past Sunday, North Korean defectors laid a wreath at the Korean War Veterans Memorial on the Mall to thank those who once answered “the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met.” Soon after Korean-Americans gathered in protest of Prime Minister Abe’s Congressional speech on April 29, wartime Emperor Hirohito’s birthday, having flown in for the event an elderly Comfort Woman survivor who testified at a 2007 Congressional hearing and received the personal blessing of Pope Francis in Korea last year.