Jeju 4·3 International Network for Truth and Justice established in Jeju City
The Jeju 4.3 International Network for Truth and Justice was established in the Jeju City Communication and Cooperation Center at 2:00 PM KST on June 27, 2022. People from Jeju, Seoul, Japan, the United States, Europe, and Taiwan joined forces to seek the truth and justice.
Seven different organizations came together to join hands, with the Jeju Association for the Bereaved Families of 4.3 Victims in Jeju as the hub: Jeju 4.3 Pan-National Committee to Commemorate the Jeju 4.3 Massacre, Memorial Committee fortheJeju 4.3 Uprising and Massacre, Association for the Bereaved Families of 4.3 Victims in Japan, Jeju 4.3 Victims and Families Association in the U.S., Taiwan Jeju 4.3 Victims Association, and the Jeju 4.3 Network Europe. In addition, participation by two other groups are in the planning: Jeju 4.3 Network Tokyo andJeju 4.3 Network Osaka.
At the founding ceremony, representatives of each organization participated through video conference, and Jeju Provincial Governor Oh Young-hoon and National Assemblyman Kim Han-kyu of the Democratic Party delivered congratulatory speeches. Koh Hee-beam, chairman ofthe Jeju 4.3 Peace Foundation, visited the site of the founding ceremony and delivered congratulatory remarks.
In its founding declaration, the 4.3 International Network for Truth and Justice announced that it would become a catalyst for connecting the next generation by fostering the spirit of 4.3 and resistance against injustice to reaffirm peace and human rights.
The spokesperson for the 4.3 International Network for Truth and Justice said, "The Jeju 4.3 Massacre, which claimed the lives of IO percent of the population of Jeju at the time, occurred 74 years ago, but it is not a problem unique to Jeju. After World War II, the Korean Peninsula was another battleground between the great powers. It is a righteous history in which the people of Jeju tried to forge the future of the Korean Peninsula after liberation rather than be dictated by the great powers:'
"The 4.3 journey towards truth and justice did not come about by sitting still. The dedicated research and movement of the Jeju 4.3 organizations and civil society, in tandem with the efforts of the bereaved families, led to the enactment of the 4.3 Special Act, the adoption of a fact-finding report at the government level, and an apology from the President of South Korea. The amendment of the Special Act, backed by the efforts of all, made historical progress in enabling compensation and retrial at the govern-ment level;' the spokesperson added.
"In the 1970s and 1980s, when it was hardly possible to talk about the Jeju 4.3 Massacre out in the open, the voices calling for the investigation of the truth first emerged in Japan. And we've come a long way. Recently, the Jeju 4.3 Victims and Families Association of the U.S. was formed. And a meaningful step began in Taiwan with the launch of the J eju 4.3 Network Taiwan. In other nations, such as the UK and the Netherlands, various activities are underway to establish the truth of the Jeju 4.3 Massacre:'
"Even if it takes a long time, we will establish the truth and the responsibility of the U.S. military government at the time. The spring of the natural seasons each year comes by itself, but the spring of historical truth must be forged by men and women as well as the next generation. Our collective footprints towards solidarity will become the warp and weft that light up a brighter tomorrow:'
'We [ 4.3 International Network] will bloom in the Jeju 4.3 spirit of protesting against injustice and flower into peace and human rights:'
The representatives of each organization who participated in the founding ceremony of the Jeju 4.3 International Network for Truth and Justice aim to raise awareness through collaboration among civic societies and investigate the role of the U.S. Army Military Government in Korea.
In September 2020, the Memorial Committee for the Jeju 4.3 Uprising and Massacre, with the view toward establishing the 4.3 International Network, reached out to each J eju 4.3-related association across the world.
In January, 2021, discussions on the establishment of the international network began in earnest and, six months later, it was established. Each representative of the participating organization took on the role of co-representative, and a joint secretariat consisting of co-representatives and directors of various fields within each organization was formed.
The Jeju 4.3 International Network is planning to hold various events such as international forums and seminars for resolving the Jeju 4.3 issue, international solidarity projects, international representation of the Jeju 4.3 history, and international cooperation for forging peace and justice. ■