TRC Info

From DKRG: Info on Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Dear all of you

Here’s a little bit about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which I short for the TRC. A lot of people have asked about the TRC case and the ongoing commission investigation, so here is some info. Ok, it's not a little. Its a bit far 1f642.png

TRC is a state body in Korea established by the Korean state to investigate human rights violations and events of historical significance in Korea.

TRC covers the period 1910 upto 1993. It is being investigated for violations committed during the Japanese occupation, the involvement of Korean soldiers during the Vietnam War and many other things.

One of the areas that the TRC is also looking at is human rights violations committed during the Korean dictatorship.

After the Korean War and until 1993, Korea is a dictatorship state in the same way as known from Chile and elsewhere in the world.

TRC is also investigating this period, which in Korea is not called the dictatorship era, but the "authoritarian period" - authoritarian era.

So far, TRC has been investigating individual events. That means massacre and violence perpetrated by the dictatorship state.

The special thing about adoption is that it's a direct product of dictatorship times. Adoption was basically invented by the catatur state back in 1954 as part of ethnic cleansing of children of mixed ethnic origin and continued with disabled people and children of unmarried mothers which was socially unacceptable.

What's special about adoption is that it's not tied to a particular event like f. ex. a massacre or the violent police crackdown on a demonstration.

Adoption consists of a wide range of processes that span over time from 1954 up to this day.

This means that initially it has been difficult for the commission to be able to identify adoption from South Korea as covered by the TRC's mandate, because so far they have only had specific events and events in the form of specific delimited violence.

TRC has decided that adoption is part of the commission's topic area and has decided to initiate investigation into adoptions from South Korea on the basis of DKRG's TRC case.

TRC is made up of an overall politically composed commission. Under the commission there are two sub-commissions - 1 and 2. Under each sub commission there are several investigative teams.

Our TRC case is in sub commission 2 and in investigation team 7

DKRG has filed 1 main case and more than 300 individual cases. Our main case consists of more than 50 pages main document explaining the 56 types of human rights violations we have found problematic in adoption. Each of the more than 300 cases from the adopted acts both as independent cases and as evidence that underpins the main case.

More than 12,000 pages have been submitted in writing to the commission from the DKRG and more than 2000 pages of evidence have been submitted.

The lawsuit has been that a preliminary investigation has first been carried out to assess whether to set up an adoption commission. It's the phase, which has just been completed, and the commission has decided to open a commission investigation into adoptions from South Korea. It happened the 6 of them December 2022 and we got the announcement on the 7th. December 2022.

The commission has begun its investigation into the first set of cases consisting of 34 adoption cases. Several cases are in the pipeline, so this is the first batch of cases being selected for investigation.

There are quite a few stories about how the 34 cases were selected in the first group. The commission has selected the first group for investigation. We can see that all countries are represented in proportion to how the nationalities are distributed on the number of cases.

We can also see that the first 34 cases are well lit with documentation. So it's my guess that the commission has selected cases that have been well documented.

Will there be more groups? Yes, as I said, there are more cases in the pipeline. Our case is a huge case. It spans over 3-4 decades and has 56 themes. Cases from the 3rd. and 4. submission is still in process with the commission regarding. registration and other stuff.

So what are we going to do now? Adoptes who have been notified that they have been selected in the first group will have to await inquiries from the commission and respond to them. Adoptees who have not been contacted by the commission yet will just have to wait until the commission contact them.

Am I excluded if I'm not part of the 34? No, that you are not one of the 34, means that you are not among the 34 at this time. Based on all cases are looked at. If cases are rejected by the commission, then you are not in. So far we are not informed if any cases have been dismissed.

My case is more special than others, why is my case not among the 34? The commission has decided which 34 cases to start with. Other cases will follow and it is up to the commission to decide how their work is organised.

Can i have the number of commission of investigators there is something i would like to ask You cannot contact the commission directly. You can ask Peter Knudsen or me to bring things to the commission in the form of evidence, additional information or documentation. The Commission's investigators are an investigative unit and relevant questions to f. ex. family search needs to be directed to NCRC which is the Korean post-adoption authority.

How is communication with the investigators? We don't really know that yet. This is the first time that the commission has a case with so many nationalities and virtually no one speaks or writes Korean. The commission is very aware of it and we have a good feeling that a good solution is being made, which on the one hand ensures that important information comes to the knowledge of the commission and that you have the opportunity to feel safe in pr ocassionate.

They have looked through all the cases. It happened during the preliminary investigation. So it's just waiting for the commission. The new cases filed recently will undergo the same process.

TRC may exclude cases from investigation if there are insufficient documents or evidence in the case. It can be f ex. be that you have not documented that you are from Holt or KSS. This is why we encourage everyone to look their adoption paperwork and make timelines and other stuff. This is also why we ask people to look at their hojuks and see if there is mentioned cinema. family in their cases.

It is our impression that there are many adopters who have not read their adoption papers. Not only because they're on hanja or Korean, but also because they don't quite know what kind of documents they're sitting with. I can totally relate to that.

Even tiny details can be a big deal for commission investigators. Let me give a few examples. A blank 2 turned out to contain both missing matching and falsified hojuk, where the person has been made orphan on paper. Another case, where there was only blank 1 and photo ID turned out to both contain fake hojuk and that the person was a stolen child and a serious crime was behind the adoption.

These days we do our best to collect this type of information for the commission to let them know how bad it is even though people's cases actually look harmless. Remember, our papers are designed to look harmless, but in reality they are not always.

Please also make timelines and write in your own words what is wrong in your cases. If you can't see anything right away, then look for your hojuks and look at your background information. For those of you who have found Korean family it is often spot on. It's just important that the information you know from there is written down in a few lines with your own words.

Generally speaking, timelines can give you quick overview of holes. F. ex. what happened in those 8 weeks or why do documents lie the way they do. It can both be used specifically in relation to the commission, but it can also be a good process for one to put words and thoughts on things yourself.

We're headed somewhere good with this commission survey.

The investigators in our case are the same investigators in charge of Brothers Home and Seongnam Academy. So it's investigators who have seen some of the worst things imaginable.

Our task in DKRG's TRC group is to stay in close contact with the investigators and try to find good solutions to the many challenges facing 8 nationalities and different languages so that all ends meet.

Our task is also to put as many words and descriptions on your cases. I've talked to several of you and you're actually pretty good at it.

If it's hard to get started with a small summary of your case or timeline, then you can try to ask yourself these questions:

- What is your case about?

- What is the problem in your case?

- What would you like to have clarified in your case?

It's also our job to make sure the commission boards our main document and addresses the Korean state's role and adoption systems that caused all of this.

So everyone who has submitted a form is involved in this case is helping to shed light on the circumstances surrounding their own adoption, and they are also helping to draw a picture of how adoptions took place on the more overall level that will give a right g odt picture of how the entire adoption industry has worked and still does because kids are still being shipped from Korea.

I hope this description can be beneficial.

Best wishes

Peter Moller