President Duterte: Re-install the comfort woman memorial in Manila.
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We strongly condemn the removal of the comfort woman memorial along Roxas Boulevard, Manila, Philippines last April 27, 2018, in the middle of the night, despite opposition from women’s rights advocates, historians and other sectors. This is a desecration of Filipino women's dignity. It is an insult to the hundreds of Filipina victims of Japanese military sexual slavery during the Second World War.
We appeal to the Philippine government to:
1. Re-install the memorial in a protected public place, and erect similar memorials in other parts of the country; and
2. Resist pressure from the right-wing, militarist Japanese government’s revision of world history and recognize the experience of the former comfort women in official Philippine history.
Like the peace monuments in Korea, United States, Australia, Canada, and Germany, the comfort woman memorial in Manila serves as a reminder to future generations of Japan's atrocities and abuses against Filipino women during the WWII, and women’s historical victimization in times of wars of aggression. Lila Pilipina, an organization of former comfort women, GABRIELA Alliance of Filipino Women, Tulay Foundation, and many other advocates, with the support of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, worked hard for many years to put up the monument in a place visible to the public. With its removal, the right-wing, militarist Japanese government once again succeeded in imposing its revisionist take on WW II on governments and advocates around the world.
While threats of diplomatic and economic sanctions from Japanese government did not pressure other governments in removing similarly installed comfort women memorials and monuments in their cities, it is highly lamentable and shameful that the Philippine government, like a thief in the night, removed the comfort woman memorial in Manila. What has been left of the marker will be a stark reminder of how President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration pimped the dignity of women and the Filipino nation in exchange for multi-billion Japanese loans and technical assistance if he fails to heed the call to correct this atrocity.
Together with the Filipino people, we will vigorously pursue efforts to expose Imperial Japan's military sexual slavery in the Philippines and in other parts of the globe. Women will persevere in highlighting the horrors of Japanese occupation, no matter how the Japanese government tries to cover it.
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