Joint Letter Sent to the UN Secretary-General to Stop Human Rights Violations and Religious Oppression in South Korea
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
Main reason for delay in granting visa-free regime for Georgia and Ukraine is the lack of agreement-Donald TuskWednesday, 07 December 2016 11:15
The governing institutions of the European Union and the Member States bear a serious political responsibility and should not lose the trust of Ukraine and Georgia regarding the speedy granting of visa-free regime to these countries.
This is stated in a letter of European Council President Donald Tusk to President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, available to an Ukrinform correspondent in Brussels.
"We have made demands on our partners, who have paid a heavy price in carrying out painful reforms and even have been subjected to great political risk. They accepted these challenges, with a strong belief that the EU will be able to fulfill its own promises. Therefore, I want to reiterate that we may lose not only the social, political and economic interests, and not only the future of our relations with our neighbors, but, also and especially, trust," Tusk commented on the inadmissibility of delay in EU’s decision-making process regarding granting Ukraine and Georgia visa-free regime.
In his letter, the President of the European Council noted that the main reason for delay in granting visa-free regime for these two countries is the lack of agreement between the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.
The Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili has sent a letter to all the public officials. According to the Press office of Prime Minister’s Administration, all the public officials have received a letter today morning.
“Each of us working as public official, have the huge responsibility towards the country. Each of the decisions we make and each of the moves we take, each of the Lari we spend serves the interest of people. Exactly because of that we should protect the law. Minor violation of the law may result the loss of confidence which is unacceptable.
The political activity has been rise in pre election period and we should make clear our ethical performance. Our legislation establishes a number of rules public officials should protect. I have sent you all of them. Please read and consider them in your daily activities,”-it is said in Prime Minister’s letter.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier thanked Prime Minister of Georgia for the hospitality demonstrated during his visit to Georgia and assessed this gesture as an indication of the friendly relations between the countries. In his letter to Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany outlined success of bilateral economic relations and noted that preparations for marking 2017 as a Germany-Georgia Friendship Year and the Frankfurt Book Fair of 2018 are going full speed ahead.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed full support to the foreign course of Georgian government that, according to him, is expressed in political farsightedness of Giorgi Kvirikashvili and the constructive stance he takes in dealing with the separatist areas.
"Please accept my heartfelt thanks for the hospitality and in-depth, trust-based discussions I enjoyed during my visit in Tbilisi. As I see it, this visit was an expression of the friendly relations existing between Germany and Georgia, and I also found it very beneficial at a personal level. I am particularly pleased with the successful economic initiatives and the busy preparations for Georgia's participation in the German-Georgian year planned for 2017 and in the 2018 Frankfurt Book Fair. Both events will bring Germans and Georgians closer together and intensify intercultural ties between the two countries.
I value the far-sightedness you bring to foreign policy and the constructive stance you take in dealing with the separatist areas. We will continue to do what we can do to support this policy both politically and with funding for confidence-building projects.
Be assured that I will continue to do what I can within Germany and the European Union to advocate that political, economic and cultural ties with Georgia be strengthened and visa liberalization be brought about soon," - is said in the letter.