Korea: Heisoo Shin

We have established that rape and sexual slavery during wartime are violations of women's rights and should be punished. Because of our movement, hopefully such a thing will never happen again.

— Heisoo Shin

Heisoo Shin has been a leader in bringing the issues of sexual slavery and other women's human rights abuses to the forefront of the international justice agenda. She served for seven years as president of Hotline for Women in Need, created to receive information from women forced to serve as sexual slaves by the Japanese military in World War II. She is a leading member of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and is vice-chair of the Commission on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Heisoo's role in the Commission on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women is central in an effort to monitor the world's conditions for women. Formed in 1982, the commission is comprised of 23 experts on women's issues from around the world. At meetings held twice annually, the commission reviews data and makes recommendations for services or legislation that will protect women against personal and institutional violence. Heisoo, one of the world's leading experts on the sexual slavery of Korean women by the Japanese military, served for 11 years on a national committee created to help these so-called "comfort women". A visiting professor at Kyunghee University since 2001, she uses her considerable expertise to educate, monitor, and demand change. In her various roles, her goals are full disclosure of the truth about the Japanese military's role in sexual slavery, acknowledgment of the crime, punishment of the criminals, and legal reparation for their victims. When she began her work, Korea had just joined the United Nations. Through the work of Heisoo and her colleagues, legal judgments for wartime perpetrators of crimes against women is expected from the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Heisoo's international activities resulted in representatives from many countries also declaring the violation of their women by Japanese military.

Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan Korea Women's Hot Line Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law & Development