Sat, Aug 15, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Feminists call for inclusion of human rights in guidelines

CURRICULUM:Activists said accurate information was key to helping students understand the suffering by comfort women under the Imperial Japanese Army

Staff writer, with CNA

A women’s rights group earlier this week said it hopes that human rights concepts will be included in curriculum guidelines, after the issue of “comfort women” became a point of controversy in the revised high-school curriculum guidelines dispute.

The curriculum fails to provide accurate information on the topic of comfort women — women across Asia who entered into sexual slavery under the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II — to help students understand the sexual abuses and pain suffered by comfort women, Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation executive director Kang Shu-hua (康淑華) said.

The foundation has been working to help Taiwanese comfort women cope with their mental anguish and to seek justice and compensation from Japan over the past 20 years.

“It is meaningless to focus on whether the comfort women were ‘forced’ into sexual slavery or ‘volunteered,’” Kang said, expressing her hope that the curriculum guidelines will include human rights concepts.

Protesters took to the streets and occupied the Ministry of Education forecourt earlier this month to oppose changes to high-school history curriculum guidelines, which, according to activists, “are presented from the perspective of Chinese unification.”

While most of the protesters’ anger is directed toward what they call opaque changes to the curriculum that present a “China-centric” view, a handful of opponents have also questioned a modification related to the comfort women.

The change describes their sexual slavery during World War II as “women forced to become comfort women” instead of simply as “comfort women.”

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