Meetings condemn coercive conversion in South Korea

Meetings condemn coercive conversion in South Korea

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Gwangju, South Korea, January 13, 2019

New Zealand Ceremony for Gu Ji-In on January 6, 2019

The first anniversary to mark the death of Gu Ji-In, who passed away during coercive conversion last year, was held at Gwangju, South Korea on January 6, 2019.

Organised by the members of the Association for Victims of Coercive Conversion Programs (AVCCP) , the event was attended by Park Sang-Ik, Choi Ji-Hye and about 20,000 people.

About 8000 more people participated at similar events held in Jeonnam, Mokpo, Suncheon, and Yeoso.

AVCCP had organised the event worldwide, including New Zealand, where about 100 lovers of peace attended.

Violating Rights

Gu Ji-In lost her life while being forced to convert to another denomination within Christianity, despite the Constitution of the Republic of Korea according the right to the Freedom of Religion.

The people gathered at the commemoration ceremony asserted against coercive conversion, which is always accompanied by violence, confinement, violation of human rights and even death.

Prior to the commemoration, a rally for advocacy for the enactment of a law against coercive conversion programmes was held in Gwangju.

Law to prevent coerciveness

AVCCP Regional Director for Gwangju, Lee Jeong-Woo said, “Gu Ji-In, who was 27 years old, was killed by her family who were instigated by the coercive conversion pastors. In order to prevent such tragedies from happening again in Korea, we have spread the news of this terrible incident and the illegal acts of coercive conversion for the past year. Through this, many people have found out about the grave reality of coercive conversion by the Christian Council of Korea (CCK). We have obtained more than one million signatures nationwide to enact a law against coercive conversion programmes.”

Mr Lee said that the whole world was appalled by the serious violation of human rights occurring in the Republic of South Korea.

“The ‘Resolution Conference’ and the ‘Campaign for the Eradication of Coercive Conversion was held in 23 cities across 15 countries and the media from 33 countries reported the brutality of coercive conversion. Regrettably, the murder case which occurred in the Hwasoon Pension, due to the instigation of coercive conversion, has yet to be concluded. Even after the death of Gu Ji-In, the illegal act of coercive conversion by the money hungry coercive conversion pastors did not stop. There were 147 victims last year alone,” he said.

Commemoration meetings were held throughout the world for Gu Ji-In

The case of Gu Ji-In

Gu Ji-In was confined and forcefully persuaded to convert at an undisclosed Catholic monastery in Cheonnam for 44 days in July 2016. The following year (June 2017), she reported the abusive case of coercive conversion programmes to the Blue House Website and worked to voice for the punishment of the coercive conversion pastors and to enact a law against this discrimination of religion.

In her final days, Ms. Gu was again confined, this time in an undisclosed pension, located in Hwasu-gun in Jeonnam on December 29, 2017 and was being forced to convert her religion. The following day, she was rushed to a University Hospital with difficulty in breathing due to her family’s violence. She was later pronounced dead due to brain damage on January 9, 2018.

AVCCP emphasised that coercively converting others’ religions in the Republic of Korea, a place of religious freedom, violates the First Clause of Article 20 of the Constitution.

“Therefore, a law against coercive conversion must be enacted so that there will not be any more victims,” Lee Jeong-Woo said.

The above Report and pictures were sent by the New Zealand Branch of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL).

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