On November 25, 2017, about 1200 social representatives including youth and religious leaders gathered at the First Peace Conference of Religious Leaders in South-Eastern and South-Western Regions for the Reunification of Korea to discuss spreading a culture of peace and preparing action plans for peaceful unification of the two Koreas.
The Conference, organised by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC), was held in Daegu Metropolitan City, South Korea.
It was hosted by the Buddhist Central Association for the National Unification of Korea and sponsored by Ministry of Unification, the National Unification Advisory Council and local community organisations.
The German Example
Speaking at the Conference, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) Chairman Man Hee Lee emphasised the need for peaceful unification of Korea through the leadership of civil society, using the unification of Germany as an example.
“The Korean Peninsula was forced to be divided and regulations that separated the peninsula were established. Then, is unification possible with politics and law? The unification of Germany was possible when people gathered to hold a peaceful candlelight rally,” he said.
Mr Lee underscored the importance of individual participation in the work of peace. “To achieve peace, every individual in our global community should be a messenger of peace,” he said.
Korea Institute for National Unification President Gi Woong Son said that policy- making towards North Korea should be oriented to induce peaceful unification by opening the eyes and ears of the people in the country with the values of freedom, democracy, human rights and welfare.
Stressing the role of civil society in peace-building, he said, “Consistent efforts for reaching North Koreans through humanitarian approaches, including religion, culture, art, sports and environment should be carried out. These areas can avoid transferability of capital misused for military capabilities of the North.”
Role of religious leaders
Kumdang Temple Chief Priest Venerable Bup Ryun said that religious leaders are responsible for leading the work of peace and one way to engage in such a task is HWPL’s World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Offices for collective peace-building efforts by religions.
“Now is the time for religious leaders to stand at the front for peace, a long-cherished wish of all humanity. The wall blocking harmony among religions will collapse as a result of our efforts to understand one another based on comparative study of religious scriptures,” he said.
Conference Participants signed a peace agreement incorporating a resolution to support HWPL’s initiative for cessation of war and world peace, and to participate in projects for peace and religious harmony in the Korean Peninsula.
HWPL is an international peace organisation conducting global peace projects based on the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW), which addresses international co-operation for peacebuilding through peaceful resolution of conflicts, respect on international law, ethnic and religious freedom, and spreading a culture of peace.
During the nuclear test by North Korea in September, HWPL hosted the Third Annual Commemoration of the WARP Summit to advocate for collaborative governance in peace-building, with participation of 200,000 social representatives from politics, religion, media, education and women’s groups.
- Participants signing Peace Agreement
- Thousands of hands go up for Unification of Korea