Multiple events were staged in New York City over the weekend featuring intangible cultural heritage from east China's Suzhou.
Produced by Xinhua Global Service
As part of the 77th session of the UN general assembly on 11 October 2022, in New York, Georgia was elected with 178 votes as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council for the second term, for 2023-2025. Georgia was initially elected as a member of the UN’s intergovernmental body in 2015, for the term covering the years 2016-2018.
Being elected as a member of the UN Human Rights Council is an important success for Georgia. Membership in the Council gives the country a greater scope to engage actively in the global human rights agenda.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia congratulates all the newly elected members of the Council and thanks the UN Member States for supporting Georgia's candidacy.
Pastors incite family breakdown
A New York Times advertisement space on November 28th showed a wolf in sheep’s clothing holding money and chain in his hands while a woman is bound and persecuted. Titled “Ban Coercive Conversion”, the non-profit ad is to try to raise awareness of a South Korean woman kidnapped by her own family and came to die when she was forced to dissuade herself from abandoning her religious faith.
Ms. Gu Ji In, the victim from this conversion program, was taken by their parents twice to two different places – Catholic monastery and resort pension for months. Though the religious background of the family is a Presbyterian church, major denomination in Korean Christianity, the Catholic space with the approval from the Catholic members was used for anti-human rights crime. This type of forceful conversion exceeds 1,000 victims with deaths and war-like mental traumas.
To restore justice, a public rally with 120,000 participants in Seoul back in January requested a legal punishment on this criminal activity by Christian pastors who make the “Coercive Conversion Program” to encourage parents to kidnap their children and forcefully threaten them to convert.
Without being exposed to direct involvement into the physical violence, the pastors avoid the criminal law and financially benefit from the parents. Since today, the Korean government has not released an official statement.
Korea's Mainstream Christianity Becomes hotbed of crime
The social and political influence of Christianity in South Korea has made the civil rights ignored. The Christian Council of Korea (CCK) was established in 1989 as a unified organization of Christian churches with the majority of the Presbyterian denomination. With millions of church members, the CCK exerted its influence in presidential elections and leveling heresy for firm control over social and economic power. For the last 10 years, Korean media frequently have reported the corruption of the CCK.
The CCK’s controversies have raised concerns over not only social division in the country but global conflict. During the Japanese colonial period, the Presbyterian church encouraged Korean youth to participate in the war waged by Japan in Asia and the Pacific. In 1938, the church collected money to purchase weapons and claimed it was “the order of God for Christians in Korea.”
Under the sponsorship from the military dictatorship in the 1970s, this tradition transformed into an anti-peace slogan. Recently, the president of the CCK officially said that the citizens who held candle lights in Seoul Square for the resignation of the former President Park Geun Hye are “flea” (insect) and held prayer service “for the fall of communist (President) Moon Jae In in the name of Jesus.”
Another prayer service by the CCK left remarks against the international norm, which encourages war behavior that threatens global order. A former official from the Park government said, “For the stability of South Korea, we need nuclear armament.”
Responsibility and role of religion questioned
Pastor Noel Malik, Director of Pakistan Minorities Alliance in Italy, emphasized, “Denominations who exercise those actions are not Christian. They are extremist and anti-Christian. I want to ask them. In which chapter and which verse are you following to do such bad action? If the Bible does not say, why are you doing that?"
H.E. Samuel Sam-Sumana, Former Vice President of Government of Sierra Leone, said, “Governments should be encouraged and supported to develop clearly defined policies and laws against forceful conversion and those policies and laws should be fully enforced.”
“Importantly too, there should be collaborative efforts established and undertaken by countries in the same region to track and deal with such violations of rights,” he added.
"There have been 137 cases of coercive conversion after the death of Ms. Gu since January this year. This shows how Christian pastors are cheapening the lives of people," said Ms. Jihye Choi, co-president of Human Rights Association for Victims of Coercive Conversion Programs (HAC) in South Korea.
"In order to root out this kind of anti-human right conversion, international interest is of tremendous importance," she highlighted.
Views on the reform of the educational system, the necessity of youth engagement in the country’s ongoing processes, and the importance of human capital development were discussed by Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze during today’s meeting with Georgian students studying in New York.
The students familiarized themselves with the views of the Head of Government on the changes planned at every stage of the system of education, involving the introduction of innovative approaches.
The Prime Minister underlined the importance of the maximal engagement of youth, emphasizing that he welcomes their every idea and active participation in every process related to the reform’s successful implementation and the country’s development.
According to Mamuka Bakhtadze, the Government’s goal is to create in the country an environment enabling youth to make full use of their potential and abilities. The meeting with the Prime Minister was attended by 17 bachelor’s and master’s degree program students, including through financing from the International Education Center of Georgia.
Prime Minister's Press Office
H.E. Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia met with H.E. Andrej Kiska, President of the Republic of Slovakia in New York.
Discussion was focused on the topics envisaged within 71st Session of the UN General Assembly, bilateral cooperation between Georgia and Slovakia, along with the European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations of Georgia.
Prime Minister of Georgia noted that success achieved by the country towards the visa liberalization has been acknowledged by the European leaders at many occasions. Head of the Government of Georgia (GOG) expressed hopes for getting support of the Parliament of Europe towards the visa liberalization, whereby Slovakia would contribute to this process within the scope of its Presidency of the Council of Europe (Council of the European Union). Parties noted that cooperation between the two countries has been developing actively in the recent period in different areas of interaction.
Parties also expressed optimism that economic links and trade volumes will increase between the two countries.
Prime Minister of Georgia conveyed his gratitude to the President of the Republic of Slovakia for his support in the country's aspirations towards European and Euro-Atlantic integration, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia.