Timor-Leste’s comfort women, in tears asked the Japanese government to acknowledge the human rights violations committed upon them by Japanese soldiers during World War II (1942-1945) in Timor-Leste.

Timor-Leste’s comfort women, in tears asked the Japanese government to acknowledge the human rights violations committed upon them by Japanese soldiers during World War II (1942-1945) in Timor-Leste.

Victim Ines Magalhaes Gomes said she was a victim of sexual violation committed by a Japanese soldier during the occupation, there was no other option and she needed to save her family.
She said it was a bitter and terrible experience and the Japanese government has not acknowledged their suffering.
"Japan left us suffering and up until now, they have not acknowledged their horrible actions. We want to know when they will recognize us, we are getting older and we will die one day," she asked in tears in the meeting hall of the Human Rights Association HAK Farol, Dili.
She said they were young during the Japanese occupation, yet they were made to serve the Japanese Soldiers, they had no choice because if they didn’t they would die.
Meanwhile, one of the representatives from the victims’ family, Silvina da Costa Freitas, asked the Timor-Leste government to give dignity and recognition to the survivors from the Japanese occupation as well as the Indonesian occupation, because they also fought for this country.
"Our concern is, why do the veterans receive a monthly subsidy, while victims from the Japanese occupation don’t, especially the comfort women, this is our question,” she asked.
She acknowledged the Japanese government has helped toward the development of Timor-Leste's and wondered why it continued to ignored the sins of the past.
She added that lack of recognition lessens the dignity of survivors.
Researcher and support officer from the Human Rights Association (HAK), Jose Luis Oliveira appreciated the spirit and commitment of the victims and the families who constantly struggled for justice despite telling their truth to the world.
"The truth is bitter and we are forgetting this suffering. If we do, our society will not demand justice for them,” he said.
HAK sees this issue as a priority and vowed to continue and advocate until the victims receive due official recognition.
He called for civil society organizations to continue to demand for justice until fair justice is received for the survivors, and to look at them as people and not only as a project.