Women cross for peace

Thirty women from 15 different countries crossed the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea on May 24, 2015. Today, July 23rd, 5 of these women presented their expedition at the UNHQ. For a trip that barely exceeded a week, it took countless hours of negotiation and planning. In fact, they didn’t receive the full green light until they were in Beijing waiting to fly into Pyongyang. To make their trip possible, they had to get the UN command to foster an agreement between North and South Korea and talk both governments into welcoming them into their countries. The trip was a true testament to diplomacy.

The women had many goals for their crossing. First, they hoped to get international media attention which is very important for a region whose civil war was dubbed the “forgotten war.” In fact, though it has been 63 years since the end of the war, a peace accord has yet to be signed and indeed, a psychological war still reigns in the region. Thus, the women hoped that media attention might help encourage governments as well as private citizens to engage with the countries and to visit North Korea. They also organized their crossing in accordance with UN resolution 1325 which encourages women to, among other things, participate in peace processes. These international women were the ones willing to be ambassadors for peace and wished to help support the desires of North and South Korean women’s efforts to build peace. The group reported back that the “desire for unification is still so palpable” in both countries especially, in communities where families were separated by the arbitrarily assigned 38th parallel demarcation line.

They hope to be able to meet with the Security General and urge him to help foster peace between the countries. Despite his lack of direct action in the region during his tenure, he did, however, give a warm endorsement for the group which went a long way toward making the trip possible. Overall, the women were filled with hope for the future and are still actively engaged in empowering women to foster social change and in doing all in their power to end the Korean war.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has a long history of partnership with our sisters and brothers in South Korea and North Korea. We join in prayer for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula.


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