On September 18th, the 8th Anniversary of the September 18th HWPL World Peace Summit was held online with the theme of ‘Peace as an Institution: A Foundation for Sustainable Development’. This event held across the world in 146 countries including offline event in Ethiopia, Tanzania and so all, with 5,000 participants aired online to reaffirm the importance of the sustainable development guaranteed by institutionalizing peace while the global community has yet to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and faces another threats caused by the Russian-Ukraine conflict.
Since September 18th in 2014 when the peace summit was held for the first time, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), an international peace NGO under the UN ECOSOC, has called for solidarity for peace building at the global level through collective actions with various actors including heads of state, ministers, law makers, religious leaders, educators, youth and women leaders, and reporters. This annual summit shares peace activities and achievements in cooperation with governments and civil society around the world every year.
Regarding the cause of peacebuilding at the global level, Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL said, “The global village has suffered from the unexpected COVID-19 that has hit every country. People are not alone in the midst of difficulties. We live in the same global village, and we are neighbors and families. Each one of us is the one who are obliged to make our world a better place to live. And shouldn't we pass on our good world to our descendants?”
H.E. Marinus Bee, the chairperson of the National Assembly of Suriname, expressed his willingness to establish peace at the legislative level by saying, “The role of parliaments in building peace and preventing conflict is crucial.” He added, “In collaboration with HWPL the National Assembly would like to establish a framework of cooperation in achieving cessation of war and spread a culture of peace through activities to raise awareness of peace and encourage policies and programs regarding peace education.”
Octavia Alfred, Octavia Alfred, Minister for Education, Human Resource Planning, Vocational Training and Nation Excellence of Dominica, said that HWPL’s peace education was introduced to the national school curriculum in Dominica as it was “integrated into Social Studies, and also as a stand-alone.” For the reason to develop the educational source into the civics curriculum in the country, she said that the HWPL peace curriculum is helpful “in addressing the challenges of … not just students, but even what they take home to their friends and their parents, and also out teachers.”
Mahendra Das, the Temple President of Sri Sri Radha Madhava Mandir of the Philippines, presented an institutional approach to interreligious dialogue in terms of the role of religion in contributing to peace. He suggested that regularizing international exchanges and programs to prevent conflicts based on religious misunderstanding can be a starting point for a foundation of peace.
Mr. Chung Young-min, General Director of the IPYG emphasized the role of youth as the main player of international action for peace by saying that education programs for 1,500 global youth in 59 countries are hosted to “protect the basic rights of youth around the world so that everyone can live a happy life without being left behind.”
The 10 articles and 38 clauses of the DPCW underscore conflict prevention and resolution, gradual reduction of armament and the transition to instruments for daily lives, mutual respect and conflict resolution of religious and ethnic groups, and spreading a culture of peace. The DPCW urges all actors in the global community including international organizations, governments, non-governmental organizations, and civic groups to play respective roles in institutionalizing peace.
Details of the event can be viewed through the following YouTube link.
Global Leaders Urge South Korean Government and the UN to Correct Religious Oppression in the Name of Covid-19 Quarantine
As the spread of coronavirus continues to increase around the world, voices from the international community are rising to stop religious oppression occurring in South Korea, known as an exemplary case for Covid-19 quarantine.
On August 17th, the Coalition of Caribbean Leaders for Peace (CCLP) consisting of the former and current leaders in the Caribbean including the former president of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sent a joint letter to South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.
In the letter, they said the governments, even in response to the urgency of the pandemic, must take responsibility for the protection of human rights regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status and expressed concern about ongoing oppression against Shincheonji Church, a South Korea-based Christian denomination that suffered from the unexpected mass infection at the beginning of this year.
Ahead of this joint letter, 11 NGOs including the European Coordination of Associations and Individuals for Freedom of Conscience (CAP-LC) submitted the “annual report for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights” regarding the inappropriately targeted discrimination against Shincheonji Church to the UN Secretary-General.
The annual report was titled “Scapegoating Members of Shincheonji for COVID-19 in the Republic of Korea”.
The letter briefly pointed out the facts surrounding Shincheonji and Covid-19 as follows;
〮 Covid-19 was introduced to South Korea from China.
〮 According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus was already prevalent in the city of Daegu before the confirmation of (Shincheonji) the Patient 31 (in Daegu).
〮 The government’s refusal to close the border to China contributed heavily to the outbreak.
〮 In the face of growing public discontent that the government did not impose a travel restriction on China, Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae ordered the prosecution to investigate Shincheonji.
〮 Vice Minister of Health confirmed that the list of private identification information gathered was not much different than that collected and checked by the government.
〮 Prosecutors have arrested the officials of Shincheonji on the grounds that the list of congregation members submitted by Shincheonji was not complete.
By referring to the report “Factsheet on the global response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the impact on religious practice and religious freedom” by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), the joint letter reiterated that South Korea provides a vivid example of how public health emergencies can increase the risk to marginalized religious groups.
They pointed out that the South Korean government's silence about the current situation would set a dangerous global precedent for allowing similar persecution, violence, and harassment against other religious minorities, and strongly urged the Korean government to “step forward to an end to this discrimination.”
Source: the Coalition of Caribbean Leaders for Peace (CCLP)