Truths in history can never be concealed. Distortions of history and covered-up truths must be revealed.
Yesterday, the National Assembly passed a bill to revise the Framework Act on Settling the Past History for Truth and Reconciliation, paving the way for the reinstatement of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission after 10 years and the resumption of it activities. As most of the victims of those past wrongdoings are very elderly, the task of uncovering the truth is an urgent issue. The purpose is not to mete out punishment. The truth itself is the goal. It is to move toward the future through reconciliation based on the truth. It is the genuine path for national unity.
During its initial period, the Commission made significant achievements. Due to various limitations, however, there have been some cases where investigations have not been completed or remained inconclusive, and additional findings of human rights violations by state violence have been revealed. Representative cases include the abuse of those interned at Brothers Home and of juveniles at Seon-gam Hagwon as well as civilian massacres during the Korean War. I hope that effective investigations will be carried out to clearly ascertain concealed truths to relieve the long-standing pains and resentment of the victims and their bereaved relatives and at the same time to serve as an opportunity to bolster our status as a nation that upholds human rights.
I am personally experiencing deep emotions since this opportunity to expose the truth behind the Brothers Home incident has arisen. In 1987 when the incident was first made public, I took part in the fact-finding mission as a member of the human rights committee of the Busan Bar Association. However, the Brothers Home had already closed by that time, so we were not able to uncover the truth properly, for which I have always felt sorry and regretful. I eagerly look forward to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission revealing the truth without fail during its second term. Only truth can heal the pain and help us move toward forgiveness and reconciliation.
Settling past historical issues is never about causing division and wasting national strength by clinging to past incidents. As we have experienced for decades, justice can be upheld and a future of genuine harmony and unity ushered in only when we squarely face our painful history.