Speaking before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se urged Japan to take responsibility and compensate the victims of its wartime sexual slavery.
Calling for an end in sexual violence in armed conflicts, he noted violations that took place in the past in which the perpetrators have yet to repent, pointing to the so-called comfort women as a living evidence.
"This is an added insult to the honor and dignity of those victims who had weathered physical and psychological pains in the life-long haunted memories. Such an attitude is an affront to humanity and disregards the historical truth."
An estimated 200-thousand women, mostly Korean, were used as sex slaves by the Japanese army in the early 20th century.
This marks the first time since 2006 that a top diplomat from Korea is attending the UN Human Rights Council session and the first time ever the comfort women issue was raised, a sign that Seoul is serious about tackling the matter.
Referring to comments recently made by Japanese vice education minister, who claimed the Japanese military's use of sex slaves is a fabricated story, Minister Yun stressed the importance of educating correct history.
"The starting point of the prevention of human rights violations is, for countries to admit past wrong-doings, take responsibility for such deeds, and educate the correct history to the future generations."
Minister Yun also touched upon a recent UN report on North Korea's human rights violations and expressed hopes it will lead to practical steps for improving human rights conditions in the regime.
Top diplomats from around 50 nations attended the UN Human Rights Council session, but Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida was not present.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.