Aug. 4, 2011 - Editorial of Joongang Daily
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2014-01-14 12:27:53  |  Hit 1099
Hope to resolve the resentment over the abductions

Editorial of Joongang Daily
Aug. 4, 2011

The Korean War has left many scars on our society. One of them, which still hurts a great number of people, is the issue of separated families. Among all separated families, those who defected to North Korea during the Korean War were able to enjoy the happiness of reunions in which they were reunited with their loved ones, although those who have benefited from these reunions are very small in number. However, there are many more who feel even greater frustration when seeing these reunions.

They are the families of the abductees that were taken to the North during and after the Korean War. The government has made efforts to compensate the families of the abductees taken after the Korean War and bring the abductees back home, although there have been no tangible results.

However, at all times, the families of the abductees taken to the North during the Korean War were always excluded from such benefits. Now a door is finally open for them. The families of 55 abductees who have now been recognized as wartime abductees for the first time by 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 can now enjoy governmental support.

The number of abductees during the Korean War is estimated to be around 100,000. Compared to this number, 55 is too small. However, it is still very significant in that the government has officially recognized them as abductees for the first time in the 58 years since the War.

A great number of the families of the Korean War abductees have suffered from direct and indirect disadvantages. In particular, during the Cold War when the confrontation between South and North Korea was intense, they were ignored and harassed by governmental authorities and their neighbors. Their human rights were seriously violated, too.

This mistreatment and disrespect were based on the fact that their family members went to North Korea, with others not knowing, or not even caring whether they were abducted or defected willingly.

Even official recognition by the government is surely not enough to console them. Moreover, even now, when they have been officially recognized as abductees, the chances of finding their fate, of seeing them at the reunion, or of bringing them back to South Korea are slim to none.

The government must strive to find out whether those taken to the North Korea are truly abductees or not and to confirm their fate. In this way, the government can at least help heal the deep scars of the Korean War.
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