The Lai Dai Han recently submitted a letter pleading to the South Korean government to help them escape ostracization and injustice in Vietnam

The story of Thi Ngai and her children

Thi Ngai was a 24-year-old nursing student when she was sexually assaulted by a South Korean soldier one traumatic night at her home in Vietnam’s Phu Yen province. Ngai said her attacker kept returning after the first harrowing incident, and she eventually had two children with him. When she told him about her pregnancies, he showed no interest in supporting them and eventually cut off all communication. She also has another son from being assaulted by another sergeant.[1]

Thi Ngai’s three children are part of the Lai Dai Han community. They are viewed and treated as sub-human in Vietnam. They lack both basic rights and advancement opportunities and are subject to constant societal ridicule and shame. It’s time South Korea accepts responsibility and help the Lai Dai Han.

Who are the Lai Dai Han and why are they being discriminated against?

The Lai Dai Han are the children of Vietnamese women who were sexually assaulted by South Korean soldiers during the Vietnam War. During the Vietnam War, more than 320,000 South Korean soldiers were deployed to fight alongside US troops.[2] The combined forces were responsible for an incalculable number of war crimes, including the rape of tens of thousands of Vietnamese women and girls at the hands of South Korean soldiers. Of the survivors of these crimes, 800 women are still alive and there are approximately 30,000 descendants.[3]

The Lai Dai Han often face social and economic stigmatization due to their ‘mixed’ ethnicity. Many of them were not taught how to read or write, and are not afforded access to basic health services or economic advancement opportunities. Many of the Lai Dai Han have been outcasted from the Vietnamese society and are subject to acute poverty as of recent reports. The Lai Dai Han demand that the South Korean government is held accountable for ignoring their situation and provide them with an official apology.

However, the South Korean government is trying to distance itself from this issue.

The Lai Dai Han recently submitted a letter to the Embassy of Korea in the U.K. and Northern Ireland, pleading for an investigation of human rights violations and DNA tests of Korean soldiers. According to South Korean law, to become a South Korean citizen, one must have at least one parent who is South Korean. Those over 18 also must take a written test and display proficiency in the Korean language.[1] The LDH are asking for support from the South Korean government because of the many hurdles to South Korean citizenship and the continued discrimination the LDH face in Vietnam.    

In response, the South Korean government’s statement was dismissive, claiming that that “since the normalization of diplomatic ties in 1992, the South Korean government has made forward-looking efforts to develop relations with Vietnam, with a shared understanding to put the past behind and look towards the future.” [4]

South Korea wants to sweep this issue under the rug, but thousands of LDH and their descendants are speaking up and pleading the South Korean government for accountability.

How you can help the Lai Dai Han

The Lai Dai Han have no help from either the Vietnamese or South Korean governments, and live in squalor. They need your help! 

Want to make a change? Sign this petition to help us bring justice to the Lai Dai Han.





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