Updated April. 13, 2012 03:27
The Catholic Priests Association for Justice, what do you think is justice?
Rep. Park Sun-young, a lawmaker of South Korea`s minor conservative Liberty Forward Party and an outspoken critic of North Korea`s human rights abuses, said this on Wednesday in the U.S. She went to the Washington D.C. area to urge international assistance to block China from repatriating North Korean defectors.
Park blasted the South Korean Catholic association, which has remained tightlipped on the plight of defectors. In her keynote speech to the Washington Forum to protect the Republic of Korea hosted by the Korean-American Freedom League at a restaurant on the outskirts of Washington, she said, I am a Catholic, and I was angered to see the Catholic Priests Association for Justice of (South) Korea holding protest rallies at the construction site of a naval base on Jeju Island.
"People (defectors) are ruthlessly being killed, so how can (the association) remain completely silent? she added. In the Republic of Korea, there is a wildfire of anti-American movement, but they never make a single critical statement against China.
Glass was broken at the entrance to Seoul Plaza Hotel during the Olympic torch relay in 2010, and Chinese even used violence against (South) Koreans at the Seoul City Hall, but South Korea never even sought damages for destruction of property. Park said, Remaining silent vis-à-vis China is an act unsuitable for a sovereign nation to take.
Mentioning defectors, South Korean prisoners of war and people abducted during and after the Korean War, ethnic Koreans in Sakhalin, and Korean women forced to provide sex to Japanese soldiers in World War II, the lawmaker said, They are stranded people forgotten by history, and the minimum responsibility and obligation of the people in the Republic of Korea are giving them life jackets or a lifeboat.
POWs and abductees should be repatriated back to South Korea without fail, but nobody (in the South) remembers or talks about them, she said. How can South Koreans remain so silent about POWs, who could be our own fathers, uncles and elder brothers?
Over the past four years, I had to demand the establishment of a special committee on North Korean defectors in the South Korean National Assembly and engaged in painful struggle, Park said. But when I raised issue with North Korean defectors, the National Assembly was so uncooperative that some even tried to block me from talking.
On her hunger strike months ago over the defectors` plight, she said, I felt sad and hateful of myself to realize that as a member of the Republic of Koreas legislature, I could do nothing to help though families of defectors in need of help asked for assistance.
We cannot defend South Korea when it comes to the defector issue, Park said, adding, I chose to visit the U.S. because the defector issue is something the United Nations should resolve, not South Korea, North Korea and China can resolve, and because Korean Americans have an important role to play.