Civil Society in 71 Countries Urges International Law for Peace and Justice for Religious Freedom

Published in World
Friday, 16 March 2018 11:19

HWPL and civil society groups in 117 cities advocate comprehensive cooperation for peace and denounce anti-peace activities

While the global society has been sending an interest and encouragement to the historic decision of the North Korea-US dialogue following the ‘Peace Olympics’ held in South Korea, a Korea-based international peace NGO held an event commemorating “The 2nd Annual Commemoration of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW)” on March 14. In Seoul, South Korea, on the theme of "A Call for Building a World of Peace and Realizing Justice" was attended by 1,000 participants including representatives of politics, religion, and civic groups at home and abroad.

The host organization, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) affiliated with UN DPI and UN ECOSOC, announced the DPCW on March 14, 2016, to strengthen a solidarity of peace through a comprehensive cooperation of all sectors of society and to establish legally binding international law necessary for peacebuilding. The DPCW with 10 articles and 38 clauses, drafted by international law experts, includes provisions to avoid war-related actions and achieve peace, including respect on international law, ethnic/religious harmony, and a culture of peace.

Mr. Man Hee Lee, Chairman of HWPL, highlighted that every individual in the global society is responsible for constructing global peace. He appealed to the participants by saying, “Rather than waiting to take peace for granted, it is we who should put an end to war to protect humanity and our globe, and leave peace as a legacy for future generations.” “Law of today cannot compensate for the lives sacrificed from war. What we need is an instrument that protects human life, the very law that prevents war,” he added.

“No human being and no animal on planet Earth can survive from weapons (of mass destruction). Even an error or an accident can cause widespread damage to human life and property which cannot be replenished. We all have to work 365 days and 24 hours together for peace as a messenger of peace,” said, Mr. Pravin H. Parekh, President of Confederation of Indian Bar who participated in drafting the DPCW.

“If we want to put an end to war and build peace, let us work together for peace and overcome the boundary of state, ethnicity and religion. We have to think about how to resolve international conflicts through the adoption of the DPCW as a UN resolution. And the international society should provide assistance to facilitate peace education proposed by HWPL,” emphasized Mr. Deok Gyu Lim, former president of the International Law Association Korean Branch.

In the event, HWPL issued the official statement against anti-peace actions that hinder peace and justice with unsubstantiated information and distortion from socio-economic motives and human rights abuses by religious intolerance. In the statement it addressed that HWPL “will no longer tolerate attempts to obstruct the work for peace, putting personal gain over the common good of humanity. We urge all those yearning for peace and justice to take the right path, not the path marked with lies, and join the effort to build peace together.”

The multi-national events for the 2nd Annual Commemoration of the DPCW calling for building a world of peace and realizing justice were organized in 166 cities in 71 countries, including South Korea, the United States, Germany, Ukraine, Britain, and China. 150,000 citizens and leaders of all sectors in the world took part in this global event urging the establishment of international law for the realization of a peaceful, just society and the denunciation of anti-peace activity.

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    “Chinese government will help the Georgian side to hold various events on the territory of China targeted at promotion of the Georgian products,” – the First Vice Prime Minister of Georgia, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Dimitry Kumsishvili stated following the meeting with Zhong Shan, the Minister of Commerce and Industry of the People’s Republic of China.

    According to the First Vice Prime Minister, the proposal of the Minister of Commerce of the People's Republic of China is unprecedented and it will contribute to the export growth of Georgian products in China.

    “Today we have been offered another unprecedented assistance by the Minister of Commerce of China. In order to sell more Georgian products in China and thus increase the export rate from Georgia, the Minister has offered us to conduct a number of events in the territory of China,” – Dimitry Kumsishvili declared.
    According to the First Vice Prime Minister of Georgia, special joint groups, which will further promote the Georgian products in China, will enable more Chinese companies to get acquainted with Georgia's opportunities and make necessary investments for our country.

    Shanghai Expo was one of the prevailing issues for discussion at this meeting.

    Dimitry Kumsishvili expressed his gratitude towards the Minister of Commerce of China for the official invitation of the Government of Georgia to the Shanghai International Exhibition, which will be held in November 2018.

    "Within the Shanghai Export International Exhibition, Georgian companies will be able to communicate directly with 150 000 buyers, which will be supported by the Ministry of Commerce of China. This will be an exhibition that our country needs to utilize with full potential. This exhibition allows Georgian companies to export their products to the Chinese market and significantly increase their sales," - Dimitry Kumsishvili noted after the meeting.

    In addition, Dimitry Kumsishvili invited the Chinese Minister of Commerce, Zhong Shan to Georgia and offered to hold a business forum in Tbilisi within the framework of Intergovernmental Commission meeting between the two countries this summer.

    According to the First Vice Prime Minister of Georgia, the Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Trade-Economic Cooperation between Georgia and China represents an effective leverage for further development of bilateral cooperation.

    Dimitry Kumsishvili and Zhong Shan agreed to take effective steps to the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement between Georgia and China. As it was noted, both Georgian and Chinese companies should fully benefit from the free trade agreement, for which both sides shall come up with important decisions.

    The agreement on which the negotiations have been completed in a short period of seven months has been in force since 2018. It was also noted at the meeting that following the signing and enactment of the Agreement, there is a tendency for the growth of trade turnover between the two countries, however the potential is still huge and it needs to be supported with the favorable directions for both sides, for which the Chinese side will provide assistance to the Georgian producers.

    Deputy Ministers of Economy and Sustainable Development, Genadi Arveladze and Giorgi Cherkezishvili, as well as the CEO of the LEPL Georgian Railway, David Peradze and the the Georgia’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, Davit Aptsiauri also attended the meeting. 

  • Georgian Civil Society Leaders Call for Active Engagement of Civil Society for ‘Legislating Peace’

    Tbilisi, Georgia, March 30 – Georgian civil society leaders with its international partner, Heavenly Culture World Peace Restoration of Light (HWPL) organized a seminar on the role of civil society in peace-building process, on the occasion of the 2nd Annual Commemoration of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) at David Aghmashenebeli University of Georgia.

    The commemoration was initiated from Seoul, South Korea on March 14 with 1,000 participants from politics, religion, and civic groups at home and abroad. This international advocacy events were held in 166 cities of 71 countries including Georgia, Ukraine and Germany to raise awareness of local communities on how a peaceful environment can be facilitated by the principles of the DPCW.

    During his speech in the Tbilisi seminar, Mr. Avtandil Otinashivili, editor-in-chief of "Newsday Georgia", who had attended the Seoul conference said, “The DPCW is of great importance for every country, including Georgia. We want to avoid wars and together we must do our best to leave our children a planet without war.”

    In Tbilisi, religious leaders, youth representatives and media participated, and video materials including keynote speech of the chairman Mr. Man Hee Lee of HWPL and the footsteps of the DPCW and the world wide campaign to legislate peace were presented. 

    Chairman Lee, a Korean War veteran himself, appealed the need of peaceful means of conflict resolution and the responsibility of every individual in peace-building during his speech. “Law of today cannot compensate for the lives sacrificed from war. What we need is an instrument that protects human life, the very law that prevents war.” “Rather than waiting to take peace for granted, it is we who should put an end to war to protect humanity and our globe, and leave peace as a legacy for future generations.”

    The participants also discussed the urgent necessity of carrying out peacekeeping process guided under the DPCW and the role of civil society in order to avoid any tragedy like the 2008 Russo-Georgian War.

    Ms. Mariem Iremadze, the chairwoman of Association for Development, Education and Social Involvement said, “We[Georgians] have suffered from the negative effects of war in our country. We all need to promote peace in our society as much as we can.” She also pointed out, “Because the implementation of the DPCW is connected to the theme of collaborative governance, the government and the citizens should support each other for promoting peace and resolving conflicts in our country.”

    For civil society’s part, she explained what youth can specifically do by saying, “Youth is our hope and future of the society. I think engaging and inspiring more youth groups to promote peace is the best effort that our organization can make and we will continue to involve in the activities with HWPL to the aim of promoting peace”

    Ms. Kayla Jang, a former delegation of HWPL to Georgia also addressed the importance of civil society in building collaborative governance by referring the recent 43rd round of Geneva International Discussions (GID) on March 28, co-chaired by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the EU, and the UN that brings together the representatives Georgia, Russia, and Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia as well as the US.

    “Since the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, the GID has been the one and only remained platform for the peace-talk. But what we heard, with a sense of disappointment, from the March 28 talk was only that, it still couldn’t finalize the draft joint statement on non-use of force among the relevant parties. In order to push it forward, we need a bottom-up approach for global peace. The civil also has to raise voice on their aspiration to the state of being without war and participate in the peace-building process with the authorities.” she said.

    During the interview, Mr. A. Otinashivili also said, “Unfortunately, the round of the Geneva consultations ended in vain, but this does not mean that we should stop discussing topical issues. On the contrary, we must continue the peace process.” And he emphasized, “Civil society and the media are of great importance. Civil society must consolidate the people around one goal, to achieve peaceful resolution of conflicts. And the media should do everything so that people can hear this slogan.”

    The DPCW with its 10 articles and 38 clauses is advocating a peaceful means to resolve wars and conflicts. It includes provisions such as avoiding war-related actions, respecting international law and ethnic/religious harmony, and promoting a culture of peace.

    *Note

    - The host organization, HWPL is affiliated with UN DPI and UN ECOSOC and announced the DPCW on March 14, 2016, to strengthen a solidarity of peace through a comprehensive cooperation of all sectors of society and to establish legally binding international law necessary for peacebuilding.

    - Full Text of the DPCW, http://hwpl.kr/en/initiative/lawForPeace

    - The latest Geneva International Discussions(GID), https://www.osce.org/chairmanship/376450

  • Georgian civil society organisations and local authorities learn about applying for EU funding

    On 13-14 February, the Georgian capital Tbilisi hosted the first training seminar for the country’s civil society organisations and local authorities on drafting grant applications.

    The event was organised by the EU-funded Eastern Partnership Civil Society Facility at the request of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia and aimed to prepare Georgians to make high-quality applications to Calls for Proposals for projects aimed at strengthening civil society organisations and local authorities.

    During the two-day seminar, over 20 participants learned how to prepare concept notes and proposals to apply for grants under the abovementioned thematic EU programmes. They obtained practical skills and knowledge on project preparation, based on the Logical Framework Approach.

    Similar training seminars will be organised in the next 10 days when more than 100 representatives of Georgian civil society organisations and local authorities will participate in four workshops in Tbilisi and Kutaisi.

  • Religious Leaders in Malaysia Advocate Human Rights Issues

    Peaceful coexistence and progress have become a prime development agenda in both Malaysia and Southeast Asian countries. When the multicultural environment with religious and ethnic diversity raises the need for mutual recognition, religious representatives and an international NGO held a conference to discuss the religious contribution to international peace building.

    On January 31, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), an international NGO affiliated with UN ECOSOC, held a "2018 Malaysia Peace Forum" on the theme of "One Malaysia, One Asia, One World" at University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur.

    “We cannot and should not take peace for granted, we have to work for it, we have to preserve it and keep it for future generation,” emphasized Mr. Ghani Bin Ibrahim, president of HWPL Malaysia and a member of advisory committee of the Prime Minister's Department. “From universities in Malaysia, students will discuss the international law for peace, which will be the basis of advocacy plan from the youth,” he added.

    “We are forming a network of women peace committee leaders throughout the country to build awareness through community work and education for a peaceful, united and harmonious society,” said Ms. Woo Sow Pheng, President of Johor Women's League.

    The conference on interfaith dialogue as a session was carried out with the topic of “restoration of a peaceful world through commitment and implementation.”

    The interfaith dialogue called “World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Office Meeting” is one of major peace projects in 126 countries by HWPL with the approach to peace building in religion based on comparative studies on scriptures to find commonality of the spirit of peace in different religions.

    The discussion and attention in the WARP Office meeting were given to forced conversion that occurred in South Korea and led to a death of a 25-year-old woman by her parents. According to the report suggested, she was kidnapped and confined in a pension and finally suffocated by her family.
    “Just because of not registering under the certain denomination of vested interests, they interrupt the peace works of a religious person. Can we say these kinds of religious people are the ones who promote peace? There are no such sayings in the scripture that we should use violence nor encourage discrimination,” said Sethu Pathy M A Cumarasamy, Hon. Secretary of Sri Mahamariamman Temple. “There are no such teachings from God. They even use violence and kill those who are going to moving to another denomination, and this is happening now, in the 21st century, within the religious world. Religious scriptures, such as the ones discussed during our WARP office meetings, are aimed to be solutions to problems within mankind, to act as a guidance,” he added.

    “There is a saying ‘Heaven helps those who help themselves.’ Religious leaders should steel themselves to make this world a better place to live. To put an end to war and establish peace in our globe, everyone is required to be a messenger of peace,” said Mr. Man Hee Lee, Chairman of HWPL.

    All the participant representatives from religions in Malaysia including Hinduism, Islam and Christianity signed an agreement on the role of religious leaders in cooperation of peace building and harmony of religions to spread a culture of peace.

  • Forced Conversion Heats Up Human Rights Issues

    Drastic Fall of Korean Protestant Church, Evil Hand of Conversion by Force

    Back in 2007, Ms. Sun Wha Kim was killed when she refused to convert into another religion. According to a report from HRAFC, like the case of Ms. Gu, the ex-husband killed her with a hammer, which led to ten-years of prison sentence by the court.

    “The main target of forced conversion by pastors is congregation members who do not belong to major protestant denominations. They are forced to have sleeping pills, tied up with chains or handcuffs, confined in a room for months. This is when they have no choice but to unwillingly listen to and accept doctrines of pastors. The victims from this kind of case are over 1,000,” explained HRAFC.
    A fact confirmation statement written by Ms. Soo Hyun Go with her own handwriting and thumbprint says how she had forced conversion in the name of “education”. (Photo by HRAFC)

    The number of congregation members in traditional Christian denominations has been constantly decreasing. Many scholars and experts suggest that secularization at a global level attributes to distrust of religion from corruption and social representation of conservatism.

    Christian Pastor Won Kyu Yang said, “The Christian Council of Korea (CCK) represents Christian churches with conservative political ideology in Korea. The CCK has gained influence in association with political powers and created controversy because of its electoral fraud, human rights violation, political collusion. With its origin when supporting a long-term dictatorship of the military government of Korea in the past, the influence is still visible as many political leaders are from the CCK.”

    Religious Freedom, Coexistence and Peace building by Religion

    “In order to protect citizens, it is the responsibility of state that puts an end to behaviors of religious leaders who instigate kidnapping, confinement and other violent actions in the name of religion against those having different ideas or values,” emphasized Mr. Jae Young Park, General Director of Department of Religion, HWPL, an international peace organization under the UN ECOSOC.

    “When we continue to overlook the reality of violation of human rights, more conflicts and tragedy will be incurred. Religious leaders must not teach hatred against other religions to their congregation members,” he added.

    As a UN affiliated NGO, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) has been carrying out peace building projects around the world with the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW), which addresses peace-related principles including prohibition of hostile actions, ethnic/religious freedom and spreading a culture of peace. Along with promotion of global peace building through legislation process and education, interfaith dialogues for understanding and harmony of religions based on comparative studies on scriptures have been conducted in 124 countries to find common human value for peace in religion.

    Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL said, “Today the issues of religion are closely linked to the cause of conflicts. Religion should be the light in the world and lead the world in a good way. We as people should be the reality of peace.”

     

     

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