Women Peacebuilders Launch Global Campaign Korea Peace Now!

In March, an international delegation of women peacebuilders traveled to Washington, D.C., New York, and Ottawa to officially launch the women-led global campaign Korea Peace Now! Women Mobilizing to End the War. 

In Washington, D.C., the delegation of women — which included three Parliamentarians from South Korea (R.O.K) — met with members of Congress to discuss how to advance a new U.S. policy on North Korea that improves security for everyone. This included a breakfast roundtable with Reps. Barbara Lee and Jan Schakowsky, both co-sponsors of HR 152, which calls for an end to the Korean War, and the discussion of a possible joint commission of U.S. and R.O.K. lawmakers and civil society. The delegation also met with Sen. Bernie Sanders and urged him to introduce a Senate companion bill to HR 152.

Also in D.C., two of the Parliamentarians, Kwon Mi Hyuk and Lee Jae Jung, both members of the South Korean National Assembly, spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations on the importance of pushing the Korea peace process forward. Among the attendees were employees of the Department of Homeland Security, the RAND Corporation, and the Federation of American Scientists.

In New York, the delegation held a side event during the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN that attracted more than 200 participants. Members of the international media attended a Korea Peace Now press conference held at the UN Correspondents Association, which was also livestreamed to thousands of people. (You can watch it here.) The delegation gathered before a meeting at the U.S. Mission to the UN attended by Stephen Biegun, U.S. special representative for North Korea, to deliver its message: We want peace and we want women to be included in the process. 

Korea Peace Now’s media and communications coordinator Kathleen Richards, Christine Ahn of Women Cross DMZ, and Jody Williams of Nobel Women’s Initiative at the Korea Peace Now! press conference at the UN Correspondents Association on March 14, 2019. (photo by Constance Faulk)

The delegation of South Korean leaders then made their way to Ottawato call on the Canadian government to take a leadership role in setting the table for peace on the Korean Peninsula. 

Mimi Han, the vice president of World YWCA and an executive board member of the National YWCA of Korea, speaks about the impact of war on Koreans at the Korea Peace Now! parliamentary breakfast in Ottawa on March 18, 2019.

The day began with a breakfast briefing co-hosted by Sen. Marilou McPhederan, Sen. Yonah Martin, and the Women, Peace and Security Network of Canada. “This is a longstanding 70-year conflict,” said Sen. McPhederan. “In the past year and a half we have seen momentum build toward peace. It is key for Canada to take a leadership role.” 

The delegation also held meetings with government officials and hosted a press conferencewith Canadian MPs, senators, and civil society partners. They called on the Canadian government to restore diplomatic relations with North Korea and ease restrictions on humanitarian aid, as well as to ensure that women are part of the peace process. 

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