Group of female activists call on Ban to replace the 1953 Armistice Agreement with a binding peace treaty
Gloria Steinem (second from the right) and other members of Women Cross DMZ hold a press conference at the Customs
Women Cross DMZ, an alliance of female peace activists around the world (https://www.womencrossdmz.org), sent an open letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sep. 27 urging him to start work on transitioning from an armistice regime to a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula before the end of his term.
In May 2015, the group sent a delegation of around 30 members from 15 countries to visit North Korea before crossing the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) into South Korea by way of the Gyeongui Railway.
“Korea is the only nation to remain divided as a result of WWII,” the group wrote in the letter. “For three generations, millions of families have been separated by the world’s most militarized border.”
A total of 133 female leaders from 38 countries signed the letter, including prominent US authors and human rights activists Alice Walker and Gloria Steinem, as well as Mairead Maguire from Northern Ireland and Leymah Gbowee from Liberia, respective co-winners of the 1976 and 2011 Nobel Peace prizes.
The group went on to say that the UN was established “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” It also called on Ban to uphold a promise he made in 2007. While attending a 50th anniversary ceremony for the Korea Society in New York in May of that year, Ban said, “Beyond a peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue with North Korea, we should aim to establish a peace mechanism through transition from armistice to a permanent peace treaty.”
In the letter, the group urged Ban to “lead the process of bringing formal closure to the longest standing war” during the remainder of his term by replacing “the 1953 Armistice Agreement with a binding peace treaty.”
The women urged Ban “to conclude this peace process by 2018, the 70th anniversary of Korea’s division into two separate states.”
By Jung In-hwan, staff reporter
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