#BerlinforIndia stands in unconditional solidarity with AG Trostfrauen, Berliner Korea Verband, survivors of rape and sexual violence and other activists agitating against the removal of the “comfort women” memorial statue in Mitte. We as a political group in the city committed to fighting for the dignity of victims and survivors of rape, understand this act on the part of the city administration as one of disrespect, rape apologia for the sake of international diplomatic ties with Japan, and an attempt to erase the right of victims and survivors of rape and sexual violence to mourn and heal. We sit with you.
The statue reminds of the fate of hundreds of thousands of girls and women who were abducted by the Japanese military during the Asia-Pacific War (1931-1945) and sexually enslaved as so-called “comfort women”. Women’s movements in China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, South Korea and around the world have jointly protested against this form of sexual violence. The ‘comfort women’ are internationally recognized as courageous campaigners for the condemnation of rape in war under international law. The UN Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in 1993, the UN Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 and Resolution 1325 of 2000 defined sexual violence in war as a crime against humanity.
Sexual violence against women and girls is almost uniformly a consequence of war and imperialism everywhere. In India, women and other non-cis-men have to live under particularly oppressive rape culture, and rape and sexual violence is a tool to discipline and punish women especially along lines of caste, class and religious and regional identities. We recently demonstrated in solidarity with the victim of the Hathras gangrape in Uttar Pradesh, and their family. In the light of our activism towards acknowledgement, reflection and dismantling of rape culture, justice and dignity for victims, survivors and families facing sexual violence we extend our solidarity towards our comrades. We cannot stand by as the memory of cruelty of Japanese imperialists to over 300000 women of Korea, China, and Philippines is erased in the name of international diplomacy.