Women Making Peace (WMP), Korean Women's Association United
The aim of WMP is to realize reunification and peace on the Korean peninsula and to promote peace in the wider Asian region and throughout the world. http://conflict-prevention.net/page.php?id=172&formid=173&action=show&organisationid=4092
Contact: Gyung-Lan Jung- Women Making Peace- email@example.com
SOUTH KOREA - STATEMENT OF WOMEN'S ORGANIZATIONS ON SEXUAL
AGAINST GIRLS BY US MILITARY BASED IN SOUTH KOREA
A teenage girl South Korean girl was allegedly raped by a U.S. soldier in Seoul on September 17th, 2011.
Another teenage girl was heinously raped for four hours by
another U.S. solider in Dongducheon, Gyunggi Province on September 24.
Those crimes were so brutal that it called for South Korean police to
detain the suspects for investigation. However, South Korean police could not arrest them because of the Status of Forces Agreement between the Republic of Korea and the U.S. (SOFA), which contains a clause stating that South Korean police cannot detain U.S. servicemen for questioning, unless the criminal was caught in the very act. In other words, this clause prevented swift investigation.
The South Korean prosecutor arrested and indicted the suspect in Dongducheon case
after the irate public took the case to the streets.
The U.S. Army has formulated a zero tolerance policy on and claims to
train inductees against sexual crimes. However, sexual violence against
civilians continues to occur. Yet, in most cases suspects are set
free after a crime actually occurs and are protected so that they avoid
the hands of the law, with the U.S. Army claiming that the crime is the
suspect's personal matter and placing utmost priority on the military
SOFA makes it difficult for South Korean police to
investigate suspects under custody and for the South Korean
prosecution to indict.
Suspects simply believe that it is best to first flee the
scene of the crime. The South Korean people are resentful and
disappointed at this pattern of not being able to execute law justly in
response to U.S. troops's infringements of the human rights of civilians.
We women cannot help but doubt the very foundation of "the Strategic
Partnership between ROK and the U.S. for the 21st Century", which
insisted to contribute to world peace, based on universal values
including human rights and mutual trust.
Thus, we women demand the following for the purpose of establishing a
rightful South Korea-U.S. relationship that is both fair and guarantees
1. We demand that the United States officially apologize for the
vicious rapes of teenage girls by U.S. soliders; and that the U.S. Army
change its policy toward U.S. military and civilian personnel who
commit crimes against South Koreans, to make the policy actually
effective for the purpose of preventing recurrent crimes.
2. We demand SOFA to be revised so that U.S. military personnel who
commit crimes against civilians can be processed and tried under
jurisdiction of the region in which the suspect is stationed; that the
process of compensating victims is stipulated; and to guarantee that
South Korean police can question U.S. military personnel under custody
and South Korean prosecution can indite them under custody, even for
those suspects not caught in the act.
3. The SOFA should contain a provision on protecting the human rights of women and children. The SOFA also needs to stipulate the prevention of all forms of violence against women and children by U.S. troops in the
region in which they are stationed; harsher punishment (harsher than
existing in the penal codes of both countries) for those who commit
violence against women and children; and compensation for victims
than currently practiced in both countries.
4. We women will review the problems in the SOFA and will form
solidarity with both domestic and international "conscience" forces to
change the unfair structure of the South Korea-U.S. relationship.
October 10th, 2011