Blood shortages due to COVID-19 are prevalent across the world. In January, the American Red Cross declared “a national blood crisis” poising a great risk to patient care. In March, a US-based non-profit organization Memorial Blood Centers (MBC) declared the blood “emergency” due to a lack of the stock of type O blood at only 1-2 day supply and appealed to the public participation in a single blood donation that can save up to three lives.
According to the Red Cross, blood is used for a variety of purposes, including serious injuries caused by accidents, surgical procedures, anemia, childbirth, and cancer treatment. But since blood cannot be artificially produced, experts say the only solution to the blood supply lies in donating blood.
In South Korea, in cooperation with Heavenly Culture, World Peace and Restoration of Light (HWPL), 18,000 members of Shincheonji Church of Jesus and HWPL participated in blood donation for two weeks from April 18th. This number was recorded as the largest group blood donation in the country.
Namsun Cho, head of the Korean Red Cross Blood Services, said, “When the impact of the Omicron reached its peak, Shincheonji Church of Jesus launched a large scale of blood donation. It was like rain during a drought. We are surprised that the number of donors exceeded 6,000 in 3 days and more people participated. We appreciate their life-saving dedication.”
“They did a really great job in the life-sharing movement. This scale is equivalent to one army corps donating blood for a year. The number of blood donors is nearly four times the number in a normal day, a great help in overcoming the current blood supply crisis,” said an official from the Blood Services.
“We also appreciate the members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus who participated in the nationwide plasma donation for the development of a treatment for COVID-19 back in 2020,” he added.
In South Korea, blood donation certificates are issued to blood donors. The certificate can be used when paying for a blood transfusion so that the transfusion fee to patients is deducted. All the donors of Shincheonji Church of Jesus and HWPL also donated their certificates to alleviate the financial burden of patients who need blood for treatment.
Shincheonji Church of Jesus, headquartered in Gwacheon, South Korea, is contributing to the communities through volunteer activities including plasma and blood donations, although the church suffered greatly from the initial stage of COVID-19 pandemic.
HWPL, headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, is a non-governmental organization under the UN Economic and Social Council and Department of Global Communication is carrying out long-term peace projects through education, relief, and youth empowerment based on solidarity with civil society and international organizations in 193 countries.
Press-release of the HWPL
South Korea has been gripped with rising fear over U.S. biological weapons laboratories operated by the U.S. Forces Korea. Civic groups and local residents have taken to the streets to demand the U.S. military take its hazardous weapons and vacate the country. #GLOBALink
Produced by Xinhua Global Service
Many parts of the global society is reacting to Russia's military invasion of Ukraine by denouncing Russian President Putin's decision of devastating attack and occupation of the Ukraine territory.
In his presidency, Putin used the military power to invade and control foreign territory including South Ossetia, Crimea of Ukraine, and now parts of the north, east and south of Ukraine, which all challenged the global security and stability.
On 28th, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), a South Korea-based international NGO affiliated with the UN ECOSOC and Seoul Metropolitan Government, made a statement to advocate a global cooperation for peace.
Titled “Statement by Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) Regarding Russia and Ukraine”, it demands that Russia withdraw all military to its own territory, international community protect and accommodate refugees, and global youth unite for an anti-war movement and peace.
“Military aggression against a sovereign state cannot be a solution to any problem, and the perils of such war and violent conflict hit innocent citizens the hardest, including women, the youth, and children. … Russia must withdraw its forces back to its country … (and we) request all nations to demonstrate their love for humanity by offering help to refugees.”
HWPL has been seeking to construct a global network for peace by building solidarity among leaders and representatives from the field of politics, religion, youth, women and media in the world. Written by 580,000 citizens worldwide, HWPL in 2018 sent out "peace letters" urging the heads of states of 192 countries to demand their participation in cooperation for peace.
On February 26th, the White House announced through a statement that the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States will cooperate to execute an economic sanction to exclude Russia from the international financial system by removing selected Russian banks from the SWIFT.
Ukrainian forces are currently resisting against the Russian military with effective defense, and anti-war protests and voices in support of Ukraine through social media become more widespread throughout the world.
Department of Public Relations (International) HWPL
Education is a basic right that must be guaranteed in life and participation in society for the youthSunday, 11 April 2021 11:59
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
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
South Korea: Plasma Donation by Shincheonji Church Facilitates Development of the Vaccine for COVID-19Friday, 28 August 2020 10:02
On August 27th, over 1,000 members of religious organization called Shincheonji Church of Jesus participated in donating plasma for the cure of COVID-19.
This is carried out under the invitation of the health authorities in South Korea back on 24th, asking Shincheonji Church to cooperate for donating additional plasma for the development of the vaccine.
Early this year, around 5,000 confirmed cases were found in Shincheonji Church members with most infections from the city of Daegu, while most of them recovered from the virus with 11 deaths.
According to the report from the Korea Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (KCDC), 562 recovered members from the church registered to donate plasma and 409 completed donation in July through the cooperation between KCDC and Shincheonji Church. Facing the need for “facilitation of developing a cure through plasma donation and clinical trial”, the KCDC asked another round of a large-scale donation by members of Shincheonji Church in August.
The KCDC in its official document expressed appreciation to Shincheonji Church (Chairman Lee, Man Hee) for “active participation in the collection of plasma as a group for the development of corona(virus) cure for the purpose of national health safety under the global crisis caused by the COVID-19.”
“With the cooperation of Daegu city, Daegu Athletics Center plans to provide GC Pharma equipment and personnel (for the donation) from 27th August to 4th September. We express our gratitude to the city for providing a location for the group donations. We also express our gratitude to the congregation members of the religious organization, Shincheonji to be specific,” said Mr. Kwon Jun-wook, Deputy Director of the KCDC.
Research and development of the convalescent plasma treatment is underway by National Institute of Health under the Ministry of Health and Welfare in cooperation with Green Cross (GC) Pharma, a biotechnology company in South Korea.
On the same day, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized an emergency use of convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19. Experts say that more data need to be collected to see the benefit of such treatment.
Major challenges of researching the effectiveness and the development of convalescent plasma treatment come from limited supply from donors who must be recovered from the virus.
As a religious leader, Chairman Lee, Man Hee of Shincheonji in July said, “This (plasma donation) is the work that needs to be done as citizens of this country and as true believers. It is keeping the command of Jesus of loving your neighbor as yourself (Mt 22:39 of the Bible).”
Source: The South Korea Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention.
Global Leaders Urge South Korean Government and the UN to Correct Religious Oppression in the Name of Covid-19 QuarantineThursday, 20 August 2020 14:18
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)
Joint Letter Sent to the UN Secretary-General to Stop Human Rights Violations and Religious Oppression in South KoreaTuesday, 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
The global coronavirus pandemic has not only paralyzed economic activity around the world, but has also revealed a large number of socio-political problems in many countries. Political scandals related to the existence of US military bio laboratories have erupted because of coronavirus in countries such as Armenia, Ukraine and South Korea. Recent protests in Armenia and Ukraine have again called for the closure of US military bio laboratories operating in the country. In their demands, the speakers expressed concern that the new US testing viruses in these laboratories posed a deadly threat to both the country's population and the environment. That's why the protesters demanded the immediate closure of American bio laboratories.
Russian researcher Victoria Popova wrote in her article "American Bio-Laboratories in Armenia: Wonders of Multi-Vectorism" as early as 2017 that the entire network operates in Armenia - 12 bio-laboratories created or modernized with US military money under its Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP). In turn, it is part of the US Joint Program on Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP). Three of them are in Yerevan: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State Food Service, and the Infectious Diseases Clinical Hospital "Nork". There are regional laboratories at the black plague prevention stations in Ijevan, Gyumri, Martuni, Sisian, Artashat, Vanadzor and other places. The scandal erupted in Armenia after 14 employees of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC) and the country's Ministry of Health became infected with the coronavirus. The party "Armenian Eagles - United Armenia" recently demanded the liquidation of all US sub-bio laboratories in the country within two months from Prime Minister N. Pashinian. A scandal is occurring in Ukraine over the activities of 11 American bio laboratories in the country. A few years ago, the media reported that American bio laboratories had been set up in Ukraine, but this information failed to gain attention. This time, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the opposition demanded that the government explain what is happening on the secret facilities.
Two lead deputies of the "Opposition Platform for Life" - Viktor Medvechuk and Renat Kuzmin (Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine in the past), have publicly called on the Ukrainian authorities to provide information on the activities of US bio laboratories.
"Independent Military Review" reviewer Vladimir Ivanov writes that after the collapse of the USSR, US bio laboratories were also set up in CIS countries such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Moldova and others. Only American specialists have access to them and the results of their research. Local scientists and technical staff are not allowed to enter the areas where the most important and secret surveys are conducted.
Foreign media has reported on the escalation of inter-Korean relations these days. One reason for this is the existence of American bio laboratories in South Korea. North Korea has once again requested the closure of US military bio laboratories in South Korea. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea, for several years has accused United States of preparing the start of a biochemical war. As early as 2018, according to "RIA Novosti", the Democratic People's Republic of Korea accused the United States of preparing for a biochemical war on the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang's suspicions were linked to a US-South Korean program to set up a network of military biochemical laboratories, which also researches poisonous substances. It should be noted that with the spread of the coronavirus epidemic in South Korea, the protest of citizens has intensified due to the presence of American biochemical laboratories in the country. Protestants have demanded the closure of American biochemical laboratories in South Korea because they pose a major threat to both the country's population and South Korea's ecological security. South Koreans still remember well how the U.S. admitted in 2015 that it mistakenly sent live Anthrax to private laboratories in South Korea. The head of the Pentagon, Ashton Carter, personally apologized to the South Korean Minister of Defense, Han Min-Goo, for this.
Badri Nachkebia, Political scientist,
Doctor of History
Expert-consultant of several leading universities abroad
(Information is prepared based on internet materials)