Youth groups across the globe call on the international community to intervene and halt violation of rights of two religious groups in South Korea under the guise of combating the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In a joint letter by 155 youth groups with over one million membership from 62 countries around the world, the letter draws the attention of UN Secretary General, Antonio Gutierrez and UN affiliated organisations such as the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, and Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, OHCHR, to religious oppression and human rights violation being meted to the Shincheojin Church, an emerging Christian denomination with its headquarters based in South Korea, and Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light, HWPL, by the South Korean government, without recourse to the individual’s right to association.
Director and founder of Free Watch Afghanistan, Mobeenullah Aimaq, a lead representative of the letter agrees with the UN’s concern for the persecution of minorities and vulnerable groups, as well as human rights violations that continually occur in the pretext of fighting the coronavirus, hence proposed such a move to enjoin young people around the world to appeal to the international community for redress.
The South Korean government accessed the minority religious entities for being responsible for the spread of the malaise in that country.
The petition highlights reported acts of discrimination and religious oppression by the Korean government supported by the media against the aforementioned religious organisations, citing 5, 500 cases of human rights abuses the Shanjeonji Church members have suffered during this coronavirus period, resulting in the death of two female members as lots of promising young persons are subjected to increased discrimination at workplaces, schools, violence at homes among others.
The petitioners say they are appalled at the unjustifiable revocation of the charters of the Shanjeonji Church and HWPL and the subsequent subjection to rigourous tax investigations, with several leadership members taken custody for questioning by the South Korean government.
Whilst calling for an immediate end to human rights violations, social injustices and religious oppressions festering in Korean, the petition urges youth across the globe to add their voices to the issue to make for more effective and inclusive solutions for the emergency of today and recovery of tomorrow.
By: Edward Sebbie