Iftikhar Ayaz, Chairman, The United Kingdom

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Dear H.E.Jaein Moon, President,of the Republic of Korea,

My name is H.E. Ambassador Sir Iftikhar Ayaz,KBE,OBE Chairman of the International Human Rights Committee.

I have visited Korea a few times before participating in conferences held by HWPL and have always felt the people of Korea sincerely are eager to work for peace and are having much love to one another. They seemed to have such warm hearts and that also touched my heart in which we all should be spreading this love.

The world today is in a turmoil due to the Covid-19 pandemic and is yearning for the harmony of the people around the world as well as inside of the countries themselves. And I have observed that The Republic of Korea is doing its best in taking part to quickly resolve the situation with the virus by carrying out the precautions with care and taking care of their citizens. And therefore have decreased in infection rates dramatically which the world is impressed of.

Also through various media I have heard that the cured members of the Shincheonji church has donated the plasma for the development of the vaccine of the virus which is worth 38billion dollars. I was very pleased to hear this news as this is showing wonderful work to the whole world at this period of time. I felt that through this, Korea is showing great potential and will definitely be seen as a caring country.

But what shocked me was after seeing the article about HWPL and Shincheonji church being forcefully closed down by the Government of Korea for violating the laws whilst the outbreak of COVID-19. And this due to also the urge of the mainstream Christian Churches of Korea. What I know is that HWPL and Shincheonji church have cooperated fully to the government during the outbreak and even handed them the list of all the members in the organization. Although the members in the church could have been infected, this does not mean there were no other citizens infected before in the regions. Therefore it is a very unfair act to close down the organization whilst other Christina churches are being run normally even after the infections in their churches. This clearly shows who the government is biased towards.

Shincheonji church has passionately devoted and dedicated their best to cooperate with the Korean Government in stopping the further infection of the virus. The brutal persecution of the members of the Shincheonji church in Korea and the inhumane denial of unregistering their corporation is a horrible negligence of State Responsibility which must treat all citizens equally without any discrimination whatsoever. The Government of the Republic of Korea must retain its reputation of being generally a tolerant society and receptive in the face of new religions and ideas not only opening their ears to the mainstream. It must remain steadfast on the path of flexibility, pragmatism and openness to acceptance of other beliefs. The Government must honor in practice the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights which emphasizes the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. That indeed is the foundation of freedom. justice and peace in the world. The Government should take serious notice of the fact that disregard and contempt of Freedom of Religion has resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind. The Government must follow practices which would contribute to a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear of persecution. That, of course, is the highest aspiration of the common people.

The Government must honor its commitment to Article 18 of the UNHR Declaration which states:

‘Everyone has the right to freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion.’ This right includes freedom to change religion or belief and freedom to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

The international organizations particularly UNHRC and Freedom of Religion and other NGOS dedicated to the implementation of the relevant

Declarations and Charters are urged to persuade the Government of Republic of Korea to take urgent measures in considering the closure of HWPL and Shincheonji church and without any discrimination whatsoever. I look forward to hearing good news in the near future. Thank you.

With the Highest Regards,

H.E.Ambassador Sir Iftikhar Ayaz,KBE,OBE

Chairman,International Human Rights Committee

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