South Korea-based International NGO urges a Forum for Peace Talks in Myanmar

Published in World
Wednesday, 31 March 2021 16:48

HWPL, an international NGO under the United Nations ECOSOC based in South Korea, issued a statement expressing deep concern about the crisis of human rights arising from the recent military coup and mass protests in Myanmar. They are calling for the international community to join in efforts to support peaceful approach to resolve the current conflict in the country.

On the “HWPL Statement on Human Rights Crisis in Myanmar”, the organization urged the International community to express their support for conflict resolution through the channel of dialogue between the military and civil society activists.

In the statement it said hundreds of deaths and injuries were caused by “the recent efforts of the Myanmar military to suppress nonviolent protests” and highlights that “no conflict of interest can justify violence against civilians, and no interest of any group can prevail over human life.”

HWPL asked all parties in Myanmar to “resolve the crisis through consensus based on mutual respect and understanding” and “engage in dialogue to seek a peaceful resolution.” HWPL also asked people around the world to “to issue statements urging authorities and civilians in Myanmar to pursue dialogue and seek a peaceful solution in order to restore peace to the country.”

“The number of deaths from protests exceeded 200, and more than 2,000 people have been arrested by the military.” Kasauh Mon, CEO of Mon News Agency, a Myanmar-based journalist, said in a statement. “We are very pleased with HWPL and the Korean’s support for our democracy and peace movement. Currently, we are calling on the international community to call for an end against the military regime, in order to stop their brutality against peaceful demonstrators,” he continued.

For the past five years, this international civil society advocacy for peacebuilding led by HWPL has shown support and initiatives at the national and international levels. The organization has collected over 730,000 letters written by citizens in 176 countries to call for development of peace in each country, expressing support and participation by governments and social leaders.

Press-release of the HWPL

Webinar to Discuss the Implementation of International Law for Peace “Marching on Toward Sustainable Peace in a Pandemic Era”

Published in World
Monday, 15 March 2021 15:38

On March 14, HWPL’s 5th Annual Commemoration of the DPCW was held as a live webinar, joined by over 1,200 people in 132 countries from all sectors of the society including government, international organizations, heads of women and youth groups, religious leaders, press, and members of civic society.

Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), organized this year’s commemorative event, “Marching on Toward Sustainable Peace in a Pandemic Era”, as a platform to share direction for the future and case studies of different sectors cooperating across the world as peace messengers, responding to the pandemic and bringing peace in this new socially distanced world.

The host organization, HWPL, is a peace NGO in Special Consultative Status with the UN ECOSOC and associated with UN DGC. For the purpose of ceasing all wars and creating a peaceful world as a legacy for future generations, HWPL has been carrying out 3 main peace initiatives - international law for peace, interfaith dialogue meeting, and peace education.

The Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) includes principles of peacebuilding such as the prohibition of the use of force, development of friendly relations, and peaceful dispute settlement. It emphasizes international cooperation based on interfaith dialogue and civic participation to create a culture of peace. Since its proclamation on March 14th, 2016, the DPCW-based peacebuilding model went on to receive government recognition and support for inter-religious dialogue, peace education, youth and women’s peace activities.

As a member of the International Law Peace Committee (ILPC) who drafted the DPCW, Professor Ciaran Burke explained the background of how the DPCW was founded on “the conviction that judicial and other dispute resolution measure can replace the role of war with the rule of law.”

He also stressed the kernel of the DPCW by borrowing words from Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL, is that “the envisioned effect of the DPCW is cumulative to scale up the moral and political responsibility of world leaders by crystallizing the legal obligations of their government thereby bridging the gap between law and politics.”

Efforts to institutionalize peace based on the DPCW are underway. Countries in Southeast Asia and Central America have begun to rebuild their national legal infrastructure based on the DPCW, and the local governments are officially declaring their support for the DPCW in order to implement peace principles. In South Asia, the DPCW was introduced into the university curriculum as an academic research course on the role of law for a peaceful society.

According to UNESCO, over 190 countries closed down educational facilities, and over 1.6 billion students lost their opportunity for sustainable education. As a part of the online campaign, “Teaching goes on”, HWPL’s peace education is now taught at 214 locations in 34 countries, providing online peace education for over 5,000 students 224 times in 15 countries.

Stressing the importance of strengthening partnership for sustainable education, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Mali to UNESCO, S.E Monsieur Oumar KEITA, said, “We must unite in a spirit of cooperation to ensure peace at the national and international levels. We must consider the need for a comprehensive legal approach that will lead citizens in their everyday lives, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, or religion. The preamble to DPCW with 10 articles and 38 clauses speaks of that very well.”

Regarding the importance of religion in spreading hope and peace during the pandemic crisis, Allama Syed Abdullah Tariq, President of the World Organisation of Religion & Knowledge, said, “Whenever humanity faces a difficult time era, there has been a religion which gives them hope and courage to overcome crises. Religion has its power to narrow down differences among us and unite us to be strong enough to break through obstacles. Such efforts will fertilize the culture of peace when the current generation is in desperate need for hope.”

Since it began in 2014, HWPL’s interfaith dialogue meeting also known as the WARP Office meeting is now expanded to 129 countries, seeing an increase in online meetings because of the pandemic. The religious communities in the WARP Office meeting also have held several pan-religious prayer meetings, meditation, and peace camps to reach out to people of the world who are facing hardship due to the pandemic.

International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), an affiliate of HWPL, is building a peace network of youth around the world with the Youth Empowerment Peace Workshop (YEPW), which was inspired by the DPCW’s peace realization process, to achieve youth empowerment proposed in the UN SDGs and Youth 2030.

Mr. Reuben Sapetulu, Deputy Secretary Agent for the United Nations Youth Association of Zambia (YUNA Zambia), said, “I participated in the delivery of 3,000 peace letters to the minister of justice in Zambia for the DPCW proposal. My commitments are simply because I agree that the DPCW is an effective way to bring a cessation of war and world peace. The YEPW was also inspired by the DPCW’s peace realization process. Spreading peace culture based on the DPCW is certainly the way to achieve peace. World leaders, please pay attention and support what the DPCW is stating about the peace realization process.”

Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL urged cooperation and unity for achieving peace by saying “No property or anything can become a legacy in the future. We must create a world of freedom, peace, and love without war, and make it an eternal legacy for our descendants. This is what we need to do in this era. Although the process of submitting the DPCW to the UN was paused for a while due to the corona pandemic, as much as this desire to achieve peace, there is no change.”

Department of Public Relations (International)

Heavenly Culture, World Peace, and the Restoration of Light

A Recent Webinar Highlights Human Rights Violations to be Addressed in Egypt

Published in World
Sunday, 07 March 2021 11:25

On March 6th, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) organized a webinar in Egypt to exchange ideas to address rampant human rights violations resulting from discrimination of minority religious groups during the pandemic.

Prolonged corona crisis and the internal disputes left the Egypt vulnerable to abuse and human rights violations. UN and EU also stressed the necessity of interventions to provide humanitarian assistance. The webinar invited lawyers and the heads of human rights and youth organizations to discuss the work of peace even in the pandemic situation and pave the ways to ease the tense atmosphere of the country.

"Since religious discrimination and conflict are heightened as the global crisis, causing pain and death, it should be changed so that people don’t consider these human rights issues as a personal matter and can make a society where individuals could enjoy human dignity and equality with their own identity." Hon. Adly Hussein, President of the Court of Appeal of Cairo stressed the necessity of peace activities in protecting human rights.

Mr. Tharwat Gaid Salama Gaballa, President from Horus foundation also stressed the necessity of peace activities for the protection of human rights and decrease the hatred crimes, “Thus, all activities performed last year focused on quarantine measures to carry out various activities in the post-corona era in the future, but in 2021 and all the future to come, we hope all physical and emotional obstacles posed by Corona are resolved and we can do practical activities to get closer to peace.”

When the basic human rights are violated, it deters individuals from playing contributing roles in a society. It further pushes people to neglect the importance of national or global peace which, in return, could put their future at greater risks. Growing a number of socially wounded people in a society and ignoring human rights abuse normally hinder the country from building a peaceful and sound society.

HWPL promotes the respect for human rights through a series of webinars with personnel from civil society and advances toward realizing sustainable peace development. Hence, after the webinar, HWPL plans to regularly hold online discussions to further address the human rights issues in the Middle East.

Press-release of the HWPL

HWPL Hosts ‘HWPL Peace Education Development Forum in Africa’

Published in World
Monday, 08 February 2021 18:44

On February 6th, Heavenly Culture World Peace, Restoration of Light(HWPL) hosted a HWPL Peace Education Development Forum in Africa. 500 people from 24 countries in the sectors of African national education ministries, UNESCO national committee, MOU-signed schools and organizations participated to discuss ‘the Roles and Cooperation of Educations in the Post-COVID-19 Era.’

The host organization, HWPL, is promoting international projects in 25 countries to develop long-term peacebuilding in Africa based on the its initiative ‘Spreading a Culture of Peace’ also proposed by the United Nations resolution.

The forum highlighted the necessity of developing and applying a new educational policy to stop the disparities in education and human right violations such as sexual exploitation of children and women rampant in Africa during COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, speakers shared the examples of implementing HWPL Peace education curricula in their classrooms and reaffirmed the solidarity in promoting peace as educators in Africa.

A member of the University of Zambia Youths of United Nations Association(UNZAYUNA) as well as the case presenter of HWPL Peace Education, Grace Mutale highlighted the importance of HWPL Peace Education, “Through HWPL Peace Education, I realized that I am the answer to realizing peace and determined to take part in peace work.”

Deputy Director of Ministry of Education Kenya, Science and Technology, Bartholomew Lumbasi Wanikina said “Peace Education is important since through the teachers, children able to build and sustainable peace in their respective families, friends, community, workplace, and country.  Therefore, as educators, we must disseminate the message of peace so that children can have peace and have a sustainable peace,” emphasizing the responsibility and the role of educators in building sustainable peace.

General Secretary, Cote d’lvoire National Commission for UNESCO, SORO N’ golo Aboudo said, “We would like to have an associated school so that this culture of peace program is taught in these schools, and that the children are really aware about the issue of peace and especially the issue of nonviolence.”

During the forum, HWPL signed a MOA(‘Memorandum of Agreement’) with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in Kenya, and signed Peace Academy MOUs(‘Memorandum of Understanding) with 13 schools. The department of peace education will work closely with peace academies to appoint and train on-and offline peace educators and conduct pilot classes on the value of peace.

Press-release of the HWPL

Inter-continental Online Conference to Discuss the Role of Peace Education

Published in World
Tuesday, 26 January 2021 12:31

On January 24th, over 2,400 pre-registered attendees from 70 countries, including the Philippines, the U.S.A, Germany, South Africa, China, and South Korea, joined the online inter-continental peace conference to discuss the role of peace education.

The conference was organized by a Korea-based international peace NGO, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) under the UN DGC and the UN ECOSOC in celebration of the 7th Anniversary of the January 24 HWPL Peace Day.

The January 24 HWPL Peace Day declared by the Province of Maguindanao in the Philippines has been commemorated annually since the Mindanao Peace Agreement was made by the local government and civil society leaders on January 24th, 2014.

The Peace Day was named after HWPL since the agreement was suggested by Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL, known as a Korean war veteran, to overcome the 50 years of conflict that resulted in approximately 120,000 victims in the region.

With the theme, "The Role of Peace Education in Building a Peaceful World”, the celebration of this year aimed to raise awareness of peace education around the world and establish a global platform for peace educators to implement peace education in the educational system of each country.

Followed by the congratulatory messages from social, educational, religious, and political figures including President of Court of Appeal of Cairo, Former President of the UN Human Rights Council, Former Adviser of the Ministry of Education of Guatemala, Archbishop Emeritus of Davao Archdiocese of the Philippines, Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL delivered his commemorative message.

“Today, Mindanao is no longer a place of conflict; rather, it has become a model of peace to which the world looks. Once, the people of this region used to point guns at each other—now, they share food while sitting at the same table, despite their differences in religion and ideologies. Students who were once being trained to kill are now learning the precious value of life and peace through HWPL Peace Education,” he said.

Dr. Ronald Adamat, Commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education of the Philippines(CHED), who has made an effort to implement HWPL Peace Education by integrating peace education into the relevant higher education curricula, addressed the value of HWPL Peace Day and the progress of the peace education in the Philippines.

“Youth will fight for peace but are not given yet enough skills, understanding, or opportunity to talk for peace. I wholeheartedly support HWPL Peace Education. It raises the awareness for our youth to become peacemakers - the much-needed values of the youth. Future leaders must effect change for the world's positive transformation. Our children need to be educated on how peacebuilding works effectively. Through education, the building of a truly peaceful world can one day become a reality.”

HWPL Peace Education consisting of 12 lessons aims to train the educators and students with the value of peace by raising awareness of the importance of fostering a culture of peace. Since 2016, more than 200 educational institutions in 34 countries, including India, Israel, and the Philippines, have been designated as HWPL Peace Academies, and Ministries of Education from 9 countries have signed MOAs for implementation of peace education.

Ms. Firoza Muradi, an educator from Afghanistan, said, “The Mindanao Peace Agreement in 2014 became a great model for countries like Afghanistan who experience wars and conflicts. I hope that the miracle of peace in Mindanao will happen in Afghanistan, and the beginning is from peace education. Through HWPL Peace Education, students seek answers to achieve peace in various ways, including harmony with nature, the value of cooperation, and how to protect their rights. I believe all of my students receiving peace education will grow up to be a peace messenger.”

At the event, the official of HWPL presented the plan for 2021 such as Online Peace Educator Training Program, Peace Education Volunteering Program, and Online Youth Peace Love Exchange Project that mostly designed as online programs according to the pandemic situation.

Press-release of HWPL

Inter-continental Conference for Culture of Peace through Education Will Be Held Online

Published in Culture
Wednesday, 20 January 2021 11:39

An inter-continental online peace conference will be held on January 24th, 2021, in attendance with about 2,000 participants from 17 countries, including the Philippines, India, Australia, and South Korea.

The host of this conference is a Korea-based international peace NGO, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) affiliated with the UN DGC and the UN ECOSOC.

This virtual peace conference is organized in commemoration of the 7th Anniversary of the January 24th HWPL Peace Day which was designated by the Province of Maguindanao in the Philippines to celebrate the peace agreement in Mindanao on January 24th in 2014.

The agreement was suggested by Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL and signed by government, religious and civil society leaders to engage in collaboration of peacebuilding efforts to end the decades-long conflict.

Since then, the annual commemorative event such as a grand peace festival, international peace walks, exhibitions of peace in local museums, and inter-faith conferences has taken place to celebrate the peace agreement and raise awareness of peace among citizens in the region.

The event has discussed the history, current issues, and plans for long-term peace in Mindanao as a set of peacebuilding models based on the cooperation of actors in different fields with events that raised awareness of the need for securing sustainable peace.

With the theme of "The Role of Peace Education in Building a Peaceful World”, this year’s celebration, in line with the International Day of Education, aims to establish a global platform for peace educators to implement peace education in the educational system of each country.

Although the event is open online this year due to the COVID-19, more than 2,000 participants, including politicians, religious leaders, social figures, and educators are expected to attend.

The inter-continental conference will include the graduation of peace education students, the peace pledge ceremony, and various addresses regarding the value of peace education.

An official of HWPL said, “Through the 7th Anniversary of the January 24th HWPL Peace Day, we aim to raise awareness of the importance of peace education and culture of peace. It will be an opportunity to revitalize people around the world who are currently experiencing various violence and conflicts, especially since the onset of COVID 19, with a hope and spirit of peace.”

Anyone interested in the event can join by signing up at https://tinyurl.com/HWPLPeaceDayZoomReg until the 23rd of January. The event will be live-streamed through https://www.facebook.com/hwplph/ from 16:00 (KST) on the day of the event.

 

Religions united to pray for peace and care for one another in the pandemic crisis

Published in World
Tuesday, 15 December 2020 12:59

While national measures limiting social activities bring out changes of daily routine due to the pandemic, efforts to understand spiritually about life facing diseases and related social changes are underway across religion.

On December 14, 560 representatives from 31 religions in 80 countries including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism and Sikhism joined in an online gathering named “HWPL End-of-year Religious Leaders’ Gathering: United Hopes & Prayers for a Brighter 2021” to express words of consolation to humanity and reaffirm inter-religious commitment to and dialogue for peace.

11 religious leaders representing different religions prayed for wisdom and solution to the multifarious life patterns affected by the current COVID-19 crisis. The video messages from religious leaders displayed their support for the role of religion in countering anti-peace movements such as discrimination, hatred and violence that can be exacerbated during the pandemic.

During the prayer, Rev. Acharya Prem Shankaranand Tirth, Hindu High Priest of Shree Geeta Ashram of Delhi, said, “For our colleagues, families of peace, let us continue endeavor of world peace. During this pandemic, we must realize the value of one another in that we all coexist with the nature and other creations. We in the human society must act as one and should exist in peace, harmony and love.”

“I remember sitting at my desk and finding out about the first infection in my own country. I prayed, asking a lot of questions. Many of my peers turned back to scripture in these times to seek answers about the Creator God, His plan, His will and what He wants us to focus on due to these events,” said Ms. Nandi Bester, manager of International Youth Peace Group in South Africa.

“Today we may be able to solve the problem of COVID-19, but another disease will come. When winter is coming, we can't stop it but can cover ourselves and protect ourselves. That's what we can do when there is challenging issue of bad health and adversities coming in life. We should maintain patience and learn the art of tolerance and tolerate the difficulty and suffering that is coming upon us,” said Rev. Hare Krsna Das, Priest of ISKCON, Rishikesh, India.

“Regarding the question about how human society should understand why suffering such as COVID-19 occurs, we found that all religions are searching for an answer. In the process, those participating in this event, transcending time difference, pray for the safety of all regardless of their faiths. This is the clear difference from the time before the pandemic when news of conflict was filled with intolerance against groups from different backgrounds. In this respect, it has proved the possibility that humanity in a crisis can be united and one in peace beyond religion,” said a HWPL official.

The organizer HWPL is an NGO affiliated with the UN ECOSOC and had led national plasma donation from over 3,700 people in South Korea who recovered from COVID-19 to develop a cure throughout this year.

[Attachment1] Key Attendance List

No.

Country

Religion

Name

Organization

Title

1

India

Sikhism

Mr. Bhupinder Singh

Guru Teg Bahadar Jalandhar

Head Priest

2

Ukraine

Judaism

Alexander Duhovnyi

All-Ukrainian Council of Religious Associations

Chairman

3

India

Jainism

Pradyumna Shah Singh

Religious Studies, Punjabi University

Professor

4

India

Buddhism

Dhammapiya

International Buddhist Confederation (IBC)

Secretary General

5

India

ISKCON

Hare Krsna Das

ISKCON Rishikesh

Priest

6

Czech Republic

Islam

Hassen Tlili

Alfirdaus Praha

Imam

7

Romania

The Orthodox Church

Constantin Cârlan Ungureanu

Biserica “Sfântul Ştefan”

Parish Priest

8

Cambodia

Buddhism

Oeun Sam Art

Supreme Patriarch's Cabinet

Personal Assistant to The Great Supreme Patriarch

9

Sweden

Ahmadiyya

Agha Yahya Khan

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Gothenburg Mosque

Chief Imam

10

United States of America

Hinduism

Bikram Paul

The Hindu Temple of Metropolitan Washington

Chairman

11

United States of America

Protestantism

Eldon Jones

Good field church

Pastor

 

Press-release of HWPL

An Online Prayer Meeting for Religious People Around the World to End COVID-19

Published in World
Tuesday, 17 November 2020 17:59

Amid the corona crisis, which causes about 500,000 confirmed cases and 8,000 deaths a day worldwide, a Korean-based religious organization called Shincheonji Church of Jesus, the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony (hereinafter referred to as Shincheonji Church) hosted an online prayer meeting, “3rd Global Prayer Service of Religious People” on November 15th.

Broadcast live on the official YouTube channel of Shincheonji Church, the prayer meeting was organized to pray for not only the patients and their families in sufferings but also the government, medical staff, and volunteers fighting to overcome COVID-19. Along with 200,000 domestic and foreign members of Shincheonji Church, about 56,000 people around the world wishing to defeat this pandemic joined the prayer meeting at the same time.

Religious leaders from all over the world added their aspirations for the end of COVID-19 in the online prayer meeting. Their words carried the weight and sincerity as they have continued to work with Chairman Man Hee Lee, a representative of an international peace NGO called HWPL

Chairman Lee, as a war veteran, has practiced peace activities based on the love for humanity toward many victims of war and the words of Jesus, “glory in heaven and peace on earth,” as a believer. He suggested an online prayer meeting because “as the world is suffering from COVID-19, religious people around the world need to pray together to end this disaster."

“Too many people are suffering from COVID-19. In particular, many were infected within our church last February. Both the church members and citizens suffered a lot. We must actively step forward and pray to God for the extinction of COVID-19 in the globe and for the nation and the people,” he said.

352 religious leaders from Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam, and Hinduism, representing 73 countries participated in the prayer meeting with one heart transcending religions and denominations. They shared the need of overcoming the crisis by taking the lead in resolving a disaster as religious leaders.

Dr. Anak Agung Diatmika, Secretary for International Relationship of PHDI Jakarta, said, “Genuinely from the inner of our heart consider as WE ARE ONE. We should continue our prayer till the end of the COVID-19 pandemic from the earth and continue our synergy among world religious leaders to keep the world peace, harmony, justice, and prosperity. I am so happy I can join this that truly brings world peace and harmony.”

Following this prayer meeting, about 4,000 recovered patients from COVID-19 who are also Shincheonji Church members will donate blood plasma to develop convalescent plasma treatments. Shincheonji Church has already conducted two large-scale plasma donation of 1,700 church members last July and September, and among them, 312 recovered patients donated twice.

Regarding the large-scale blood plasma donation, Rt. Hon. Hrant Bagratyan, Former Prime Minister of Armenia, sent his congratulatory message, “the action of those who decided to donate plasma at the request of the government deserves praise. If a vaccine is developed through plasma donation, it would be helpful worldwide."

A Shincheonji Church official said, “We have been conducting online service since February 18th, and praying at each worship service for the end of COVID-19, the safety of the quarantine authorities and medical staff, and the recovery of the patients. We will do everything we can with a responsible attitude until the end of the COVID-19 crisis.”

Press-release of HWPL

 

HWPL Hosts Peace Education Webinar by Connecting South Asian Countries during the COVID-19 Crisis

Published in World
Wednesday, 23 September 2020 11:07

The Department of Peace Education in Western Busan branch, HWPL held the peace education webinar (web-based seminar) with about 30 people including education classes in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries in South Asia on September 19 (local time).

In spite of the global panic in the news about COVID-19, participants had a time to raise awareness of the importance of peace education through a video conferencing solution by sharing practical examples of peace education conducted in schools in South Asia, and live Q&A.

With the congratulatory remarks by Dr. Har Prasad Kain, chairperson Indian branch of HWPL (former commissioner of Indian Tax Commission) Mr. Mahbubur Rahman Mollah, principal of Bangladesh Shamsul Hoque Khan school and college, gave a speech on the necessity of peace education. Afterwards, Mr. Imran Maqsood, the founder of Faisalabad School for Peace in Pakistan, introduced cases of peace education, and Ms. Firoza Moradi, a teacher in Afghanistan Mukhtar private school, presented the role of peace education in countries including Afghanistan.

Mr. Imran Maqsood who signed MOU with HWPL for peace education addressed, “School aims to break down the religious and social barriers of all religious people in Pakistan, including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhs, through diversity and harmony, the first subject of peace education, by creating a community where children from different religions gather together to learn, play and grow together.”

“To improve critical thinking and communication skills, students should have a concept of peace in their minds and find how to solve problems peacefully. Although classes have not been conducted since COVID-19, students have actively suggested that they want to take peace education classes even through online sessions,” Ms. Firoza Moradi, who has taught HWPL peace education since January last year, said.

In particular, HWPL's examples of peace education which have been actively implemented in each country drew attention from the participants in the webinar. 214 schools from 36 countries in Africa participated at the HWPL Peace Education’ sessions hosted by Ethiopia's Kotebe Metropolitan University. Since then the peace education has been regularly conducted. In addition, HWPL signed an MOA with Kenya National Commission for UNESCO to prepare for the annual Peace Educator workshop. In Philippines, Commission on Higher Education and HWPL have formed an MOA, which currently performs monthly peace education more than 50 schools. Especially, the HWPL Peace Education Camp between Israel and Palestine was the historical antecedents attended by 150 faculty and students crossing border despite the disputed territory.

Most of the attendees participated in the webinar emphasized, "Let's overcome the COVID-19 crisis together by continually sharing news of peace education by country!"

Press-Release of the HWPL

Joint Letter Sent to the UN Secretary-General to Stop Human Rights Violations and Religious Oppression in South Korea

Published in World
Tuesday, 11 August 2020 12:19

On August 10th, 155 youth groups with one million members from 62 countries around the world sent a joint letter to the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the UN affiliates, including the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The joint letter contained a request for recommendations to stop discrimination against Shincheonji Church, a new Christian denomination headquartered in South Korea, and a UN ECOSOC-affiliated organization named Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL).

The representative of this letter, the director and founder of FREE WATCH AFGHANISTAN, Mobeenullah Aimaq, said that he agreed with the UN's concern for the persecution of minorities and vulnerable groups as well as human rights violations that continue to occur in the pretext of fighting the coronavirus. To solve this problem, he proposed a joint letter to young people around the world to appeal to the international community.

He strongly urged that the Korean Government should knock off the prosecution of Shincheonji Church and HWPL in South Korea. "Prosecuting Shincheonji Church and HWPL should be immediately stopped so that the international reputation of the government, known as a proponent of peace in the globe, will be saved," he added.

In the letter, they reported the several acts of unfair discrimination and oppression of the Korean government and the media against these organizations by citing the concerns of UN Secretary-General regarding "disproportionate effects on certain communities, the rise of hate speech, and the targeting of vulnerable groups".

According to the report, there have been over 5,500 instances of human rights abuses of members of the Shincheonji Church during this period of the ongoing pandemic. Among the cases include two female members’ death in suspicious circumstances. Many of these victims are promising young people who are now facing increased discrimination in workplaces and schools, violence at home, and even forced deprogramming.

The letter highlights that the members of Shincheonji Church are also victims who were unfortunately infected with the virus despite following the government's guidelines related to the pandemic.

Furthermore, the unprecedented custody investigation against 89-years-old Chairman Man Hee Lee of Shincheonji Church and HWPL was recently determined. The charters of these two groups have been revoked by the government and they have been subject to rigorous tax investigations. Those in leadership positions within the organizations also have been taken into custody for questioning.

In the Korea Times column titled “Can unpopular sect expect justice?”, Michael Breen, CEO of Insight Communications, referred the current investigation into Shincheonji Church as a “witch-hunt” by saying that Shincheonji is a safe target for politicians and others who comment in public since it is unpopular.

In the joint letter, they urged that cases of human rights, social and religious repression, such as the ones occurring in South Korea, must be put to an end in order to build "more effective and inclusive solutions for the emergency of today and the recovery for tomorrow."

 

Press Release of the Department of Public Relations

Heavenly Culture, World Peace, and the Restoration of Light

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