Sex Slaves from World War II Ordered Compensation from Japan
Last week, a South Korean appellate court ordered Japan to compensate the remaining Korean ‘comfort women’ who were forced to work in military brothels during World War II. These women, who had been kept as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers, filed a lawsuit demanding 200 million won ($155,000) in 2016. The case was originally dismissed by the Seoul Central District Court in 2015 over sovereign immunity, but the Seoul High Court overturned that ruling this week, claiming, “It is reasonable to consider that there is a common international law which does not recognize state immunity for an illegal act...regardless of whether the act was a sovereign act.” Lee Yong-soo, a ninety-five-year-old activist and victim told reporters, “I'm grateful. I'm really grateful” and only wished that victims who had already passed away could be told of the ruling.
Women Rangers Use Dialogue to Protect Indonesian Forests
Women rangers from Aceh Province in Indonesia are spearheading successful efforts to help save local village forests from deforestation. To avoid confrontation, women rangers are leading searches to engage and de-escalate situations where people are encroaching on the forest. Although being a ranger is often a job reserved exclusively for men in Indonesia’s patriarchal culture, women villagers obtained a permit to manage and protect the forest surrounding Damaran Baru in 2019. With this permit, they have decreased the number of squatters seeking to deforest and farm the land. “Even though, most often, women are the ones who feel the direct impact of environmental loss and climate change, there was a lot of resistance when we brought up the idea of creating a women ranger team,” said Rubama, a community conservation officer for the Forest, Nature, and Environment Aceh Foundation, which funds the ranger initiative.
Women in Russia Protest Conscripted Soldiers Return
Women in Russia have organized a grass-roots movement to protest the indefinite mobilization of Russian troops. The group began advocating for soldiers to be sent home after twelve months of fighting after the chairman of the Parliament’s defense committee said that there would be no rotation for mobilized troops until the military operation is complete. While no arrests or detentions have been made, many women involved in staging public protests are being suppressed by existing legislation and threatened at home by enforcement officers who warn of legal consequences for attending unauthorized rallies. Participants are uniting on messaging apps, where more than 14,650 participants have joined. In November, around twenty women were able to successfully demonstrate in Moscow. One organizer, Maria Andreeva, said the government has been responding with increased remittance. “They agree to pay us even more, but only if we keep quiet,” she said in an interview. “Many women need their husbands and sons, not payments.”