Oct. 23, 2011- Editorial of Kukmin Daily
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2014-01-14 16:18:34  |  Hit 1033
Now is the time to take an active approach to finding the fate and repatriating abductees

Editorial of Kukmin Daily
Oct. 23, 2011

The movement to remember the Korean War abductees is spreading. It began as Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik and ministers wore light-blue mulmangcho badges to the government interpellation of the plenary session of the National Assembly on the 20th. These badges have been distributed by the Korean War Abductees’ Family Union (KWAFU) since last year.

KWAFU has been working for many years to find the truth about the Korean War abductees, restore their honor, find their fate, and repatriate their remains, but has not received any attention from the public. Until guilt-by-association was abolished by law in 1984, the families of the abductees suffered both mentally and physically as they were always under the supervision and pressure of the government and faced restrictions when finding jobs.

Until 2002, when the List of Korean War Abductees was found in the National Library of Korea, the government had neglected their responsibility and said that there was no such list.

The government established the National Committee on Investigating Abductions by North Korea during the Korean War and Restoring Honor to the Victims in April and began receiving reports. The Committee recognized 55 people among those who have been reported as Korean War abductees in August.

It was the first time in 61 years since the abductees were taken to the North. Although the government has been taking such actions, the general public does not even know about it. This clearly shows there was not enough publicity.

The efforts of KWAFU were then followed by Park Seon-yeong (Liberty Forward Party), member of the National Assembly. She has handed out mulmangcho badges, representing the abduction issue, to ministers and is drawing the public’s attention to the issue of the Korean War abductees.

However, as always, this shouldn’t be a one-time event. The case of compensating fallen soldiers of the Korean War should serve as an example. The issue of compensating them was raised four years ago, but it simply faded from public awareness.

To fulfill its role as the government, it should never give up on its duty of protecting its citizens, including soldiers. Previous governments paid no attention to the abducted citizens and thereby caused much difficulty for so many people.

Even now, the government needs to show its strong willingness to make its best effort to remember the Korean War abductees, find their fate, and repatriate them. It should not turn a deaf ear to the cries of the abductees.
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