Caribbean Leaders Demand United Nations Secretary-General Stop Human Rights Violations and Religious Oppression in South Korea

Former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Basdeo Panday

Former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Basdeo Panday

WASHINGTON, DC – More than 60 notable political officials and religious leaders, including three former Caribbean Prime Ministers, nearly 20 Caribbean organizations, and former United Nations (UN) personnel, have sent a joint letter to the UN Secretary-General Antó nio Guterres.

The joint letter formally attempts to hold the South Korean government accountable for their treatment of the religious minority group, Shincheonji Church.

Furthermore, the joint letter highlights the ongoing religious persecution of Shincheonji Church and demands the UN take public action. Contrary to articles 10, 11, and 20 of the democratic republic’s Constitution, the letter addresses deeply-entrenched religious divisions in South Korea that exposed and aggravated targeted and excessive discrimination toward religious minorities.

As reported by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), “South Korea provides a vivid example of how public health emergencies can increase the risk to marginalized religious groups.”

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.

Among the cases include two female members’ death in suspicious circumstances. Many of these victims are promising young people who now face increased discrimination in workplaces and schools, violence at home, and even forced deprogramming.

Church leaders were also arrested under the notion of violating the Infectious Disease Prevention Act. “While governments around the world have responded in urgency to the pandemic with a variety of public health interventions, [South Korea’s] decisions must still be held accountable against the well-being and human rights of all peoples, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status,” according to the leaders in their letter to the UN.

 

 

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